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On cooperation of Uzbekistan with International Labor Organization

Botschaft Usbekistan, October 5, 2015

The Republic of Uzbekistan has ratified 13 ILO conventions, including on forced labor, discrimination in employment, minimum age for admission to employment and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labor and others.

In order to implement the provisions of these conventions, necessary amendments were introduced to the national legislation of Uzbekistan. The legislation establishes the minimum age for admission to employment, the list of activities and work prohibited for children under the 18 years of age, compulsory education for 12 years etc.

In particular, Article 77 of Uzbekistan’s Labor Code provides the minimum age for admission to employment - 16 years of age, in exceptional cases, with the permission of parents or their substitutes shall be employed from 15 years of age.

In July 2009 the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population and the Ministry of Healthcare issued a new edition of the “List of hazardous types of work prohibited for persons under 18 years of age”. According to this list it is forbidden to recruit persons under 18 years of age prohibits in 34 production sectors, in particular, they are not allowed to take 1673 specific professions. Detailed information can be obtained from http://www.lex.uz/.

There is a system of state institutions on prohibition of forced and child labor. The Special Commission on Minors headed by the Prosecutor General of Uzbekistan is responsible for addressing matters related to the situation of children in society, including preventing the use of child labor.

In addition, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population has effective legal inspections for labor protection, supervising over preventing the violations of labor legislation.

The direct control over the observance of the existing legislation is also carried out by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and its offices in the regions.

Any violation against children, forced and child labor are strictly punishable by the Uzbek legislation. According to the Law of Uzbekistan "On combating human trafficking" forced labor or services - referred to the exploitation of people and are classified as human trafficking. In accordance with Article 135 of the Criminal Code of Uzbekistan, trafficking is punishable by imprisonment for 3 to 5 years; the same action committed under the threat of coercion shall be punished by imprisonment for 5 to 8 years.

In order to strengthen the control over the implementation of the requirements of the relevant ILO conventions the Coordination Council on Preventing Child Labor was established in Uzbekistan and it is coordinated by the heads of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, the Chamber of Commerce and the Federation Council of Trade Unions.

The Council members include representatives of relevant ministries, agencies and public organizations. The Council plays a crucial role in preventing the use of the child labor in the cotton industry.

From 11 September to 31 October 2013 the Uzbek side together with ILO conducted monitoring of child labor in Uzbekistan in cotton harvest. ILO experts and national experts trained by ILO took part in the monitoring. There were 806 site visits, 1592 documented interviews (in accordance with the ILO Guidelines form), and unhindered access to the cotton fields, educational institutions and to all the other places.

Visits and interviews conducted without previous arrangements and agreements on the basis of “surprise principle”. Detailed results of the monitoring (printed and electronic) have been passed directly to the ILO representatives.

The monitoring revealed the absence of systematic use of forced child labor in the cotton harvest.

International Organization of Employers (IOE) welcomed the results of the joined monitoring of the ILO and the Uzbek side as a clear demonstration of the commitment of the Government of Uzbekistan and the social partners in the country to further deepen the cooperation and dialogue with the ILO.

A broad outreach work is being conducted with all categories of workers (heads of organizations, teachers, farmers, self-government bodies, women's and youth organizations) to prevent forced labor, including the worst forms of child labor. On this purpose a special guidelines and booklets have been published and distributed.

For instance, the Council of the Federation of Trade Unions has issued guidelines “Uzbekistan ratified ILO Conventions” and distributed among employers and self-governing bodies. The Internet has also been extensively used in explanatory work (more than 10.2 million people in Uzbekistan, or one third of the total population, have access to Internet).

In implementation of ILO conventions in Uzbekistan the social partnership mechanisms is effectively applied. There is the General Agreement between the Government, Trade unions and Employers in Uzbekistan, 86 sectorial agreements and over 93 thousand collective agreements between enterprises and organizations. The agreements cover 96% of all legal entities employing a labor of the trade unions’ members. All agreements contain provisions on observance of labor rights, including protection from forced labor in accordance with ILO Convention 105.

Reports on the measures undertaken in Uzbekistan on the prevention of forced labor and the worst forms of child labor are regularly submitted to the ILO Secretariat.

In April 2014 Uzbekistan and ILO approved the Decent Work Country Programme for 2014-2016. It clearly shows that clear commitment of Uzbekistan to further develop and strengthen constructive cooperation with ILO.

The program includes priorities, tasks and indicators on three main areas:

1) Strengthening social partnership in Uzbekistan to implement fundamental labor principles and rights at work, including a national policy on the application of international labor standards;

2) Widening decent employment opportunities, including implementation of active policies of providing full, productive and freely chosen employment;

3) Developing an effective management system of occupational safety and health, conducting out collective bargaining and tripartite consultations on wages, improvement of social protection.

To implement the Strategy, on 27 May 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan adopted a Resolution on “Additional measures to implement ILO Conventions ratified by the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2014-2016”.

The document provides a number of important measures to prevent and eradicate the worst forms of child labor and forced labor, carrying out legal reforms and strengthening the national monitoring system using the ILO-IPEC methodology.

The Government has instructed all involved organizations, including heads of regional and local administrations, educational institutions and other organizations, on the inadmissibility of children under 18 years of age to the cotton harvest, as well as forced mobilization of workers. Any breach of this instruction is punishable.

As part of measures to prevent the use of child labour more attention is given to monitoring school attendance of pupils. It should be noted that during the entire school year attendance of the training sessions is maintained at the level of 98-99 percent.

Each case of absence of a student in the classroom without a valid excuse becomes a subject of discussion both at the level of teaching staff and the Mahalla (citizens’ institute of self-governance) with follow-up measures to immediately return a student to the studies and sports activities at the school.

Evidence of firm commitment of Uzbekistan to fulfill its international obligations in the field of labor protection is the development in the last two years constructive dialogue and intensified cooperation with the ILO. Since 2013 20 activities were held jointly with the ILO. The representatives of the ILO visited Uzbekistan 9 times.

On 22-23 April 2015 Tashkent hosted an international conference “The role of trade unions in ensuring citizens' rights to decent working conditions: the experience of Uzbekistan” in cooperation with ILO, UNDP and German Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

Progress in cooperation between Uzbekistan and ILO was highlighted at the 103rd International Labor Conference held in June 2014 at Geneva.


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