The role of workers' organizations in promoting reform of the social protection system in Kyrgyzstan

On March 17-18, 2022 a two-day training workshop titled “Advocating for social protection system reforms by workers’ organizations in Kyrgyzstan” took place in Bishkek.

News | 31 March 2022

About 35 representatives of sectorial workers’ organisations and oblast-level councils of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan participated in the training. The main objective of the training was to mobilize workers’ organizations in discussions on the role of social protection, to formulate and implement social protection policies covering informal workers and promoting gender equality.

In his opening speech the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Migration of the Kyrgyz Republic  Kudaibergen Bazarbaev emphasized that “social security is an important means to prevent and limit the extent of poverty, inequality, social isolation and lack of social protection, contribute to equal opportunity and to gender and racial equality, as well as to stimulate the transition from employment in the informal economy sector to employment in the formal economy. Setting policy priorities aimed at sustainable, long-term growth accompanied by ensuring social integration is of extreme importance for Kyrgyzstan”.

The labour market changes in the KR as a result of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and external economic and political circumstances have greatly exacerbated the challenges problems faced by the Kyrgyz workers. Today the country has one of the highest levels of informal employment among Central Asian countries. In 2019 economic activity in the informal sector (71.8%) accounted for 23.5% of added value and for 95.3% of new jobs.

The agenda included presentations on key international labour and social security standards, as well as the discussion on the complexities of their application in the Kyrgyzstan context. The participants discussed the materials prepared for the seminar (based on available facts), ready for use by participants at various meetings (consultations) on social security issues with participation of state authorities.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Rysgul Babaeva, “it is very important that international standards were presented vis-à-vis national analysis findings to identify to what extent national legislation is in line with international standards. It enabled to reveal and discuss the linkages and bottlenecks of the national policy and legislation in comparison to international standards”.

The International Trade Union Confederation gave a presentation on the vision and strategy of the global trade union movement. The Confederation also shared advocacy materials on social protection and examples of trade union action at the national and international levels.
The training seminar was organized with the support of the ILO project "Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy" in close cooperation with the Bureau for Workers’ Activities of the ILO (ACTRAV).