TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 18 October, 2023 – Better Work Uzbekistan hosted a garment industry stakeholders’ seminar, “On Advancing Decent Work and Business Competitiveness in Uzbekistan’s Textile and Apparel Sector,” which took place Oct. 18. Officials representing the Ministry of Employment and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan, the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan, and the International Labour Organization(ILO) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) gathered at the Radisson Blu in Tashkent to discuss key issues facing the industry, including reforming labour inspections and easing the registration process for new trade unions.
“We are ready and willing to work together to advance the competitiveness of local enterprises in international markets and create a level playing field,” said Mr. Ilkhom Khaydarov, Chairperson of the Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan. It is great that the leading enterprises are in the process to enrol with Better Work programme, yet we need to engage more.”
The seminar offered an open forum among the IFC and the ILO and its constitutes to reflect on the progress made by the Better Work Programme since operations began this summer. The group shared priorities for approaching to challenges and achieving progress, including the Government’s work to reform labour inspections. Efforts are also underway to lower the barriers for the registration of new trade unions at the national level. Tripartite constituents reiterated their support for these two efforts, as well as for strengthening worker-management committees as a mechanism for social dialogue at the company level.
Abu Yousuf, the Programme Manager of Better Work Uzbekistan, said: “We are grateful for the active engagement of all constituents and partners – both in Uzbekistan and globally. This event offers a good opportunity to share what has been achieved during the start-up phase of Better Work Uzbekistan and to look ahead at what’s planned for the next year.”
Better Work and Uzbek tripartite constituents signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on May 30, and since then, the programme has commenced operations at the enterprise and national levels, including enrolling factories and modifying the Compliance Assessment Tool (CAT) to reflect Uzbek labour law and international labour standards. The programme has also developed trainings to address workplace cooperation and communication; grievance mechanisms; supervisory skills; and gender, diversity and disability inclusion.
“We hope Better Work’s presence will send a strong signal to global apparel brands and retailers, some of whom are already considering sourcing from Uzbekistan, about the strength and sustainability of the Uzbek textile and garment industry,” said Sabine Hertveldt, the IFC Better Work Programme Lead.
A key goal of Better Work Uzbekistan is to support the industry in attracting more international buyers for more robust growth. This is part of a series of industry seminars that Better Work will host to continue to facilitate collaborative improvements and shared solutions for challenges that face the garment industry.
Conor Boyle, Co-Head of the Better Work Programme globally, concluded: “We are encouraged to see the strong support from the tripartite constituents for Better Work in Uzbekistan and look forward to our collaboration.”
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