Republic of Uzbekistan is a member of the ILO since 1992 and, so far, has ratified 14 conventions of the Organization:
- Forced Labour Convention (C29) - 13.07.1992;
- Forty-Hour Week Convention (C47) - 13.07.1992;
- Holidays with Pay Convention (C52) - 13.07.1992;
- Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, (C87)-17.06.1948;
- Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention (C98) - 13.07.1992;
- Equal Remuneration Convention (C100) - 13.07.1992;
- Maternity Protection Convention (C103) - 13.07.1992;
- Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (C105) 15.12.1997;
- Discrimination Convention (C111) - 13.07.1992;
- Employment Policy Convention (C122) - 13.07.1992;
- Workers' Representatives Convention (C135) - 15.12.1997;
- Collective Bargaining Convention (C154) - 15.12.1997;
- Minimum Age Convention (C138) - 03.2008;
- Convention concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour (C182) - 03.2008.
In recent years, relations between Uzbekistan and the International Labour Organization have been strengthened.
In particular, on April 25, 2014, the Ministry of Labour, Council of Federation of Trade Unions, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the head of the ILO Moscow office signed a Memorandum of Understanding, including Decent Work Country Program for 2014-2016.
May 27, 2014. Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No.132 dated May 27, 2014 approved the Package of additional measures for implementation in 2014-2016 of ILO Conventions ratified by Uzbekistan.
In particular, the document provides for:
- Improvement of national legislation in accordance with ratified ILO Conventions;
- Implementation of the ratified ILO Conventions on forced Labour and child labour;
- Cooperation, development and implementation of programs of cooperation with the ILO;
- Capacity building of the social partners of the ILO in the Republic of Uzbekistan;
- Public awareness campaign on the implementation of ratified ILO Conventions.
May 28 - June 12, 2014. Uzbek delegation composed of the Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Belgium Vladimir Norov, and the chairpersons of the Council of Federation of Trade Unions T.Norbaeva and Chamber of Commerce and Industry A.Shayhov, participated in the 103rd session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva.
August 6-7, 2014. A round table was held in Tashkent with the participation of the ILO representatives on the topic: "Issues of cooperation with the ILO to implement Decent Work Program in 2014-2016".
September 18 - October 25, 2014. In accordance with the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No.132 dated May 27, 2014, National monitoring of child labour in the cotton industry was conducted in Uzbekistan, with the methodological and expert support of the ILO.
The monitoring covered 37,797 km, 172 rural areas and cities of regional subordination were visited, including 46 - in the course of repeated visits. 711 visits were made to potential risk sites, including 316 visits to the vocational colleges and academic lyceums and 395 visits to farms. 745 documented interviews were conducted.
The monitoring registered the presence of 49 minors in the cotton fields. Of these, 41 children picked cotton and 8 children were present in the field with their parents. In all these cases, necessary measures have been taken.
September 23, 2014. Council of Federation of Trade Unions, with the assistance of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia prepared and submitted necessary documents for accession to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
December 2014. The 14th General Council of the ITUC discussed the membership application of the Federation of Trade Unions and requested the Secretariat of the Confederation to organize in April 2015 a fact-finding mission to Uzbekistan to obtain comprehensive information on the trade union movement in the country, Federation of Trade Unions and its activities, and preparation on this basis of the report for its next meeting.
January 14-15, 2015. Visit of the Special Adviser to the ILO Director-General K. Tapiola to Uzbekistan. During the visit, he informed the social partners that the ILO Committee of Experts, at its meeting in November-December 2014, positively appraised the country's commitment to cooperation with the Organization on forced labour and child labour.
Also, information was received that the Workers' group and Employers' group of the ILO did not recommend the consideration of Uzbekistan as an individual case during the forthcoming 104th session of the International Labour Conference.
K. Tapiola noted the intention of the Organization to hold a round table for national and foreign experts on the results of the study of employment and working conditions in agriculture.
By February 2015 collective bargaining covered 111,562 enterprises, where the rights and interests of 4 million 225 thousand 725 employees are protected. According to the results of 2014, enterprises coverage by collective bargaining in Uzbekistan amounted to 98.1%. Council of Federation of Trade Unions managed to include, in all advanced training courses for executives, the classes devoted to the study of the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation, with particular reference to the Conventions on child and forced labour.
In-depth study of these Conventions is established in the Academy of Public Administration in the training of khokims of provinces, districts and cities in the Institute for Advanced Training of education, health workers, training courses of procurator's office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Women's Committee, Fund "Mahalla", Public Youth Movement "Kamolot", etc. To this end, trade unions have developed methodological and presentation materials, prepared teachers for training at the national and local levels.
February 3-5, 2015. Meetings were held in the Ministry of Labour, Council of Federation of Trade Unions with representatives of the ILO M.Cock, H.Taliga and the World Bank M.Woodward, E.Romanova, and V.Neagu. During the meeting, the issues of establishment of feedback mechanism (FM) and third party monitoring (TPM) were discussed.
In particular, it was agreed that TPM and FM will be conducted by the ILO with the involvement of experts from Uzbekistan, and will be financed by the World Bank.
February 5, 2015. A round table was held in Tashkent with their participation. The aim is to consider conducting research in agriculture. The Uzbek side noted that the country pays special attention to the establishment of direct contacts between the interested governmental and non-governmental organizations on the issue of labour relations in agriculture. As a result of the joint efforts, obligations under ratified ILO Conventions and Agreements signed with the World Bank to finance projects in the field of agriculture are fulfilled in full.
It is emphasized that the social partners (Ministry of Labour, Council of Federation of Trade Unions and Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in Uzbekistan in cooperation with the ILO have performed certain work on public awareness, including workers and employers, as well as farmers on forced and child labour. Ministry of Labour in cooperation with the Center of secondary special and vocational education is drafting a regulatory instrument providing for the introduction of a compulsory course on labour rights for students of secondary vocational education institutions.
March 3-4, 2015. A round table was held in Tashkent on the topic: "Implementation of Decent Work Country Program and social aspects of mechanization of the agricultural sector". The roundtable was attended by Special Adviser to the ILO Director-General K.Tapiola and Regional Director for Central Asia of the World Bank S.Jha, as well as representatives of international organizations such as UNDP, UNICEF, and IFC.
The event was attended by heads of diplomatic missions of the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, Britain, South Korea and the EU in Uzbekistan.
During the event, representatives of the World Bank and the ILO highly appreciated the measures taken in the country and noted the commitment of the Uzbek party to fulfill obligations. It was stressed that constructive cooperation of Uzbekistan with the World Bank and the ILO is strengthened, specific and targeted measures to implement international standards and ILO standards are taken, working conditions in agriculture of the republic are improved.
In March-May 2015, in accordance with the Decent Work Country Program, the Center for Socio-Economic and Market Research "Ekspert Fikri" carried out a qualitative study on the topic: "Practice of hiring and working conditions in the agricultural sector of the economy of Uzbekistan", on the basis of which a quantitative study will be conducted in April-June. According to the results of the above studies respective recommendations will be made to the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In addition, in 2015, it is planned, together with the ILO and the World Bank, to organize work on the establishment of a feedback mechanism for the consideration of appeals and monitoring by a third party on child and forced labour in the cotton industry. In addition, Coordination Council on Child Labour with the participation of stakeholders will conduct national monitoring of the use of child labour in the cotton industry throughout the country.
April 22, 2015. The Council of Federation of Trade Unions organizes a conference in Tashkent on the topic: "The role of trade unions in ensuring citizens' rights to decent working conditions: experience of Uzbekistan". It will be attended by the ITUC Deputy Secretary-General J. Wienen and Confederation Officer A.Lepek.
On May 6, 2015, a round table was held in the building of the Council of Federation of Trade Unions with the participation of the ILO representatives on the topic: "Practical definition of forced labour on the basis of the ILO indicators." It was attended by the ILO representatives.
Delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan consisting of the Chairman of the Council of Federation of Trade Unions, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Head of the State Legal Inspectorate of the Ministry of Labour in accordance with the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers No.387-F dated May 28, 2015, in the period from May 31 to June 9, 2015 participated in the 104th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva (Switzerland).
Taking into account the progress made by Uzbekistan in implementing the provisions of the Conventions No.105 and No.182, as well as with regard to the development of cooperation with Uzbekistan and the ILO on child and forced labour, Uzbekistan first time for the past 5 years was not included in the list of 50 countries which, according to the ILO and the ITUC, face significant problems in the implementation of provisions of certain ILO conventions (for reference: in 2014 Uzbekistan has been excluded from the list of 25 countries to be considered at meetings of the Committee on the Application of Standards).
On June 3, 2015, at a meeting of the ILO Finance Committee, appeal of Uzbekistan was considered (letter from the Ministry of Labour No.01-09-1749 dated 15.05.2015) on the restructuring of membership dues to the budget of the ILO, resumption of voting rights in the ILO. Following the discussion, the decision was made to satisfy the proposal of Uzbekistan. Thus, at the 104th session of the ILO, Uzbekistan resumed its right to vote.
On June 13, 2015 a meeting was held with a delegation from the World Bank (WB), headed by a WB leading expert Mark Woodward, where preparations for the third-party monitoring (TPM), and feedback mechanism (FM), project draft work plan, with activities of monitoring on forced labour, as well as information and communication issues before and during the cotton harvest were discussed.
On June 18, 2015 a round table was held on the topic: "Assessment of the cotton-picking process mechanization social impact and the Program of public works," with the participation of the ILO and the World Bank representatives.
On July 16, 2015, a meeting with the WB mission led by the senior economist of the World Bank Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad was held in the building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Uzbekistan, where recommendations of the World Bank expert on the organization of free hiring in agriculture on the basis of the study of the current practice of organizing cotton harvesting using existing local institutions, and goals of improving their performance were considered.
On July 27, 2015 in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis speeches of the Minister of Labour of the Republic of Uzbekistan A.Abduhakimov, Chairman of the Council of Federation of Trade Unions T.Narbaeva and Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry A.Ikramov weree granted a hearing with regard to the ongoing work to fulfill the requirements of the ratified ILO No.138 Minimum Age Convention for Admission to Employment and No.182 Convention on the worst forms of child labour.
August 5-6, 2015. A round table was organized and held in Tashkent on the topic: "The progress of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the International Labour Organization and the World Bank in the implementation of international labour standards. During the meeting the progress of the components of the Decent Work Country Program in the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2014-2016 years, preliminary results of a qualitative and quantitative study of recruitment practices in agriculture, progress of cooperation of Uzbekistan with the ILO and the World Bank to ensure the implementation of ratified ILO Conventions, as well as the issues of third party monitoring (TPM), and a feedback mechanism (FM) in World Bank projects in Uzbekistan were considered and discussed.
Following the results of the Uzbek delegation's participation in the 104th session of the International Labour Conference, it is planned to conduct:
- in September and October, monitoring of child and forced labour in the cotton harvest;
- with the technical support of the World Bank, a study of the social impact of mechanization on the labour market;
- mechanism of free hiring in agriculture;
- feedback mechanism and third party monitoring in the projects of the World Bank in Uzbekistan.
The above measures will help to prove, once again, the absence of systematic involvement and use of forced and child labour in Uzbekistan and will eliminate biased and unfounded arguments of some NGOs, such as "Cotton Campaign" and others.