Uzbekistan: Unions advise informal workers on construction sites

From May 23 to May 26, 2023, sectoral trade unions of Uzbekistan organized visits to construction sites in Tashkent and held "consultation tables" for informal workers.

News | 27 May 2023

Among the organizers are the Republican Council of the Trade Union of Entrepreneurship, Business and Services Workers, the Republican Council of the Trade Union of Transport Workers, Road and Capital Construction Workers, and the Construction Industry of Uzbekistan.

The purpose of the event is to inform workers about the risks associated with informal employment, the benefits of formal employment, as well as the importance of joining trade unions that protect the rights and represent the interests of workers.

According to a report on the results of the monitoring of working conditions in the construction sector of Uzbekistan, which was carried out in 2022 with the technical assistance of the ILO Department of Statistics, “employment in the informal sector in construction is twice as high as the average for the economy as a whole, with significant differences across regions . The majority of jobs held by persons working in the construction sector are informal (71%). Even in the formal construction sector, 11% of those employed have informal jobs.”

During the consultations, the working people raised many pressing issues. They talked about low wages, about the need to revise the employment policy in conjunction with social protection measures.

One worker noted: “For most of us, after meeting with you, the benefits of formal employment have become clearer. But there is an important point: the execution of employment contracts will entail for our families the deprivation of the right to receive benefits for low-income families at the rate of $22 per month for each child.”

Many visitors to the "consultation tables" asked how to protect themselves from the risks of non-payment by the customer of the agreed amount for the work performed. Trade union experts recommended concluding a civil law contract, which clearly indicates the terms, obligations, amount and scope of work.

An interesting discussion ensued and it was decided to make such meetings regular.

The visit to the construction sites was organized with the technical assistance of the ILO project “Transition from informal to formal employment”.

All workers who participated in the consultations were given different items produced with the ILO project support -shirts, caps, construction helmets, brochures and posters detailing the risks of informal employment and the benefits of formal employment.