PERC Call for Applications

Research on Belt and Road Initiative: Outline of the picture of Chinese investments in Central Asian region.


The ITUC’s fourth World Congress in 2019 resolves to monitor the impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) led by the Chinese government for impacts on human and labour rights. BRI has its own unique dimension of connecting China and European markets, particularly, by inland transport axis that pass through Central Asia.

While BRI and Chinese investments are an opportunity for the economies and societies of the Central Asia countries, they also present a factor of destabilization of social fabric and further risk to fundamental freedoms and rights, already poorly respected. Central Asia countries are among the worst workers’ rights oppressors in the PERC region if not in the world . Freedom of association is severely limited, child and forced labour exist, negligence of occupational health and safety is widespread. Except for Kazakhstan, Central Asian countries are stricken by unemployment and impoverishment of population, and millions of workers move to other countries in search for incomes.


The research should seek to continue the work launched by the ITUC to monitor Chinese investments and their impact on trade union rights situation. The research aims to analyze potential implications and challenges of the BRI projects on workers’ rights in the Central Asia (and eastern PERC region in general) in a view of facilitating trade union debate and policy building.

The COVID situation would restrict the research to a desk-study. It will build upon already implemented studies of general context analysis and will further focus on collecting field information from the countries about specific BRI projects, through contacts with social partners, civil society organisations and where possible – local communities.


Discussion paper: Chinese investments and implications for workers’ rights along the BRI axis in Central Asia. It shall provide information about:
o BRI in sectoral development in the Central Asian countries;
o Chinese investments as state development policies in Central Asian countries; projects of strategic importance;
o Patterns of project and work organisation at ventures with Chinese capital;
o Risk and conflict analysis of ventures with Chinese capital;
o Points for trade union debate and action building.

Timeframe of the research: 1-30 November 2020

The research language should be English, while most local and field communications have to be realized in Russian.

We invite any interested parties to submit CVs, profiles and relevant references, to ITUC-PERC at perc at for further consideration not later than 10 October 2020.

Detailed outline of the research as well as budget will be made available to interested parties upon request.