Photos from Andijan

Andijan: Almost Everyone Mobilized to Pick Cotton

Nazira is a doctor. She is a gynecologist at the Screening Center in Andijan. She has 21 years of work experience.

I was sent out to pick cotton on September 19. I was mobilized as part of the second cotton picking group for 15 days. The first one returned from the cotton fields on September 18. And it is the same every year. I did not go to the cotton harvest this year. I sent another person instead. I paid 300,000 Uzbek Som. I did not find the person myself though. I just paid and the rest was organized by managers. I do not know if they really hire and send someone instead of me. It is possible that they just keep the money for themselves. Our new presidential candidate issued a “great law”. We keep cursing him. The law says that employees do not get paid for their normal jobs for 15 days while they are away at the cotton harvest. Why is it so? And it is applied to all doctors. I was planning to stay at home and rest a bit as I bought myself out of cotton picking. However, I was told that I must work. But then why did I pay 300,000 Som? It is very unfair I would say. There are 10 doctors from our maternity hospital who went down to pick cotton. They will be back in 15 days, and as I said, they won’t be paid by the hospital for the days they spent in the cotton field. Furthermore, they won’t be paid for picking cotton either. The money that should be paid to the cotton pickers has been suspended. They say that it is a fee for food and drinks. In fact, they collect money for food and drinks separately. In simple terms, they do not pay for collected cotton and also extort people to pay for food and drinks separately. We work for free and against our interest. Eventually, we also harm our health while on the cotton harvest.

 

Note: It must be noted that every public institution in Uzbekistan applies its internal policy on salary issues. And those policies may vary. As it was reported previously, employees of some public institutions receive their salaries even though a certain time was spent in the cotton fields.

Interviews conducted in Andijan.

Data accessed 04.10.2016.