Kyrgyzstan: organising workers of informal economy

On 18-19 August the thematic workshop “Informal workers representation, protection and organising in Kyrgyzstan” took place in Chulpan Ata, Kyryzstan. The workshop was organized in framework of the FNV-PERC project on informal economy for commerce, transport, textile trade union branches and leaders of existing IE workers organisations.

Participants discussed existing service packages for Trade Union members from informal economy, specific of each sector situations, prepared action plan for last project year in national and sectoral level. They presented existing experience and reported about implemented actions. 3 project target branches now unite about 10000 workers engaged in informal labour relations.

Special attention in discussions was paid to current crisis situation in Kyrgyzstan. In Kyrgyzstan was experiencing boom of sewing industry. Main export market is Russia and Kyrgyzstan is very depended from Russian situation. For example after closing of biggest Moscow market Cherkizovskij, Kyrgyzstan sewing industry lost 25% orders and warehouses are now full of not realized goods.

In year 2001 20 000 people were occupated in light industry, in 2008 - 200 000 people. About 15 000 Kyrgyz workers sell the production in Russian markets. 80% of them are self employed and work by patents. Sewing”sweat shops” located everywhere in country - in old factories, garages, private houses, warehouses. In 2008-2009 1245 workers were organized and 45 new organizations established.

Commerce trade Union has established Trade Union organisations in all main Kyrgyzstan markets. Around 6000 market sellers are trade Union members. Main reason why people want to be organised is the need of protection against widespread corruption of certain state officials. I

n total 180 000 people are working in Kyrgyzstan markets, majority of them are self-employed.

Transport TU start organizing minibus drivers. From 40 000 self employed minibus drivers it has organized 600. B

Participants agreed from 1 of September to start national IE workers informational organsing campaign. Campaign detailed plan was adopted.