Uzbekistan - Working conditions

Uzbekistan is party to all major universal legal instruments on economic and social rights, the rights of the child, the right to equal compensation and collective bargaining, and the elimination of employment discrimination. Its labor force numbered 12 million in 1999, and official unemployment was low at 2.2 percent in 1995, but no data have been released since. The hidden unemployment figure, made up of workers who receive no pay from cash-stripped companies or who are put on mandatory leave, affected about 1 million people in the agricultural sector in 2000. State employees' wages increased by 36 percent in 1996 (from a US$34 monthly average in 1994) but remained among the lowest of the former Soviet republics. The government has tried to hold wages in check to prevent inflation, setting the minimum wage to 75 percent of a typical consumer's spending. Pay raises in both the state and private sector are limited to a maximum of 70 percent of the sector's increase in output and are subject to government approval. Labor unions are government controlled. Many labor practices are inefficient due to obsolete technology, lack of management skills, and import substitutions.

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