Sectoral Collective Agreements and Prevention of Informal Employment - a meeting of trade unions of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan

On January 24, 2023, a technical working meeting was held online to validate the results of the analysis of the collective agreements of the sectoral trade unions of the two countries. The analysis focused on preventing the transition of formal jobs to the informal economy and entering into formal labour relations.

News | 25 January 2023
Among the participants of the meeting were representatives of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan and the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan. On the agenda are the results of the analysis of existing experience, the practice of applying and the content of the collective agreements of the two countries, the role of collective agreements in preventing the transformation of formal jobs into informal ones; formalization of labour relations by providing all employees with access to labour protection and health, social protection, gender equality and freedom of association.

Harri Taliga, international consultant noted that “among the main areas of action for the social partners to reduce informality could be awareness raising and dissemination of information; development of proposals for the formation of policies and changes in legal acts; exchange of information with executive authorities on the most acute problems requiring intervention; the inclusion in collective agreements of provisions to combat informal employment; protecting specific workers affected by formal employment; conducting inspections of employment status at workplaces”.

Collective agreements in both countries contain many provisions that do not contain new provisions, but repeat the provisions of the current legislation - in particular because it is required by law. As a result, the collective agreement contains a description of the main applicable working conditions, and the share of specific agreements between the trade union and the employer, primarily regarding the size of tariff rates and salaries, is relatively small in the document.

Thus, the potential use of collective agreements concluded at enterprises to prevent or reduce informal employment is seen in the inclusion in collective agreements of provisions obliging the employer to cover all its employees with compulsory social insurance.

A wide discussion revolved around the possibility of using sectoral collective agreements in the conditions of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in conditions where there is a fragmentation of economic sectors and the presence of several trade union associations within the same industry.

The analysis was carried out within the framework of the ILO project "Transition from informal to formal employment" with the technical assistance of the international consultant Harri Taliga.