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2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Mongolia

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Mongolia , 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea661f4a.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 2,641,000
Capital: Ulan Bator
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

While the right to collective bargaining is excessively regulated in the law, trade union rights are generally respected. Problems exist with implementing and monitoring the law, and corruption remains endemic. Trafficking, forced labour and child labour remain widespread.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN LAW

Although basic trade union rights are protected, there are a number of areas of concern. Freedom of association is guaranteed in the Constitution, the Labour Code and in labour laws, but is only extended to "citizens". The laws also fail to guarantee trade union rights to government administrative employees. Furthermore, while the right to collective bargaining is secured, the government may participate in the bargaining at all levels, and only certain items can be bargained upon at each specific level. All collective disputes are also subject to a compulsory conciliation procedure. While the right to strike is recognised, it can only be practised in connection with collective bargaining, and only when the dispute is not being negotiated or conciliated. A number of provisions further limit the right to strike, including the requirement that a decision to strike be taken in a quorum of two-thirds of the membership, and that the organisers of a strike indicate the duration of the strike in advance. Sympathy strikes are also prohibited.

TRADE UNION RIGHTS IN PRACTICE AND VIOLATIONS IN 2010

Background: Accelerated development in Mongolia over recent years along with a rapid increase in foreign investment has led to improved infrastructure and the growth in large mineral and power plants. However, trade unions are facing increased pressure from privatisation as the government and employers are attempting to create a more "flexible" labour market. Public concern has grown over the lack of visible benefits for the public from major mining deals, leading to several protests in 2010. Mongolian journalists are reportedly facing increased levels of repression. Some 3,000 school and university teachers protested in April over low wages while on 8 April some 4,000 medical workers demonstrated in front of Health Ministry to call for salary increases.

Child labour: Child labour remains a problem and sources suggest that some 77,000 children are forced to work to support themselves or their families. Up to 90% of these are believed to be involved in traditional animal husbandry. Many children are also involved in informal mining operations, with the average age of mining children being 14 years. Over 30,000 children work as jockeys each year.

Strike by Mongolian Airline staff ends with dismissals: In April a two-day strike at MIAT Mongolian Airlines ended with the dismissal of its chief executive officers as well as the strikers. The strike was called by some 100 ground engineering and technical inspection staff who refused to undertake pre-flight checks and instead reportedly all signed a voluntary resignation. The strike came as a response to the employer's statement that around two-thirds to three-quarters of the current technical inspection department would be laid off due to overstaffing and that new staff would be hired.

Another group of aviation officers at the Mongolian Civil Aviation Authority, who claimed to represent more than 1,000 workers, joined their voice in the protest demanding a management reform at the authority. The government reportedly hired South Korean staff to allow the airport to resume normal operations.

Trafficking, forced labour, and migrant workers: Despite legislation against trafficking and forced labour, Mongolia remains a source country for trafficking, primarily of women, mostly to China and other Asian countries. Local NGOs have also reported an increase in internal sex trafficking and forced prostitution. The authorities have done little to prevent and prosecute offenders.

Mongolian law specifically prohibits forced labour but reports continue to emerge regarding the situation of some 250 North Korean workers mainly employed in mining, factory work, utilities, transportation, construction, customer service, and health service. It is believed that they are prohibited from leaving work and are unable to complain about working conditions.

There are 200,000 Chinese workers estimated to be working in Mongolia. In September, twenty Chinese workers, previously reported missing, were uncovered to have been staying without work visas and were to be repatriated. According to local media a total of 84 migrant workers from Huarong went to Mongolia through a Chinese labour agency. The first group of them, holding tourist visas, left China in mid August, and on arrival in Mongolia their passports were taken away. According to some of the workers, they were then effectively 'bought' by Mongolian employers for around RMB 4,000 RMB (around EUR 450) and worked as slaves. One report stated that several tens of thousands of Chinese migrant workers were being brought into Mongolia to work in the construction and mining sectors under similar circumstances.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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