ILO’s Decent Work Programne makes progress in Uzbekistan

Amid encouraging labour rights trends in Uzbekistan, the ILO has broadened its commitment to improve decent work and social justice in the country.

News | 01 February 2017
Geneva (ILO news) –The International Labour Organization has broadened its partnership with the Uzbek authorities in an effort to consolidate labour market reforms that are taking effect in the country.

The moves follows the significant steps Uzbekistan has taken over the last year in realizing the goal of decent work for all of its citizens.

In January 2016, Uzbekistan agreed an Action Plan for improving labour conditions, employment and social protection of workers in the agricultural sector.

In November, the Uzbek government held a Round Table to discuss the status and prospects of further collaboration between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the ILO, resulting in the extension of the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) until 2020. Since 2014, the DCWP has been operating in Uzbekistan, covering a broad range of labour and social protection priorities, including youth employment, occupational safety and health, skills training, and labour market information.

In December, Uzbekistan ratified the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87). The ratification affirmed the government’s commitment to the role of freedom of association as a crucial enabling right for the achievement of decent work.

The ILO has also been working with the Uzbek authorities to monitor the use of child labour and forced labour in its cotton industry.

The ILO assessment on the use of child labour and forced labour in the 2016 cotton harvest, submitted by the ILO to the World Bank in January 2017, showed that child labour had been eliminated and that “no incidences of child labour and forced labour were identified with regard to World Bank-supported agriculture, water, and education projects (ILO Third Party Monitoring Report).” However, the report stated that forced labour remained a risk for certain categories of workers.

The ILO assessment identified some measures by the authorities to reduce these risks and further measures are recommended, together with improved regulation of recruitment of temporary agricultural labour.

Following the 2016 cotton harvest, the World Bank and ILO agreed to extend their partnership in Uzbekistan for a further two years until December 2018, focusing on the root causes of child labour and forced labour.