Today in Kostanay, under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Berdybek Saparbayev, a meeting of the Republican tripartite commission on social partnership was held.

The agenda of the meeting included a number of major issues of trade union activity, including the regulation of labor relations in the framework of social partnership.

The Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Birzhan Nurymbetov, dwelled on the main problems of the social and labor sphere regarding wage arrears, prevention of collective labor disputes, labor safety, as well as issues of attracting foreign labor.

The Minister noted the role of trade unions in the prevention of labor conflicts, by intensifying work on the conclusion of collective agreements.

With regard to attracting foreign labor, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population (MLSP), inspections of 95 enterprises involving more than 30 foreign workers have been completed. 930 facts of violations of labor and migration legislation were revealed, including 474 facts of imbalance in wages in 25 enterprises.

To date, the MLSPP has prepared amendments to strengthen the responsibility of enterprises attracting foreign labor and to conduct annual inspections in them. It is also planned to reduce the volume of annual quotas and introduce obligations for the employer to replace foreign workers involved in the third and fourth categories with Kazakhstani personnel.

During the meeting, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Yeraly Tugzhanov, voiced a number of proposals for improving social and labor relations.

The head of the FPRK expressed concern about the weakening of the work of the Republican tripartite commission on social partnership and proposed to intensify it by holding meetings once a quarter, including with visits to the regions.

According to Tugzhanov, the dynamics of the RTK in recent years shows a significant decrease in its activity. In 2015, 6 meetings were held, in 2016 – 2, in 2017 – 1, in 2018 – 1, for 10 months of 2019 – 1 meeting.

The collective agreement is the key to stability in the labor collective

The head of the FPRK noted that in enterprises where there are no trade union organizations, collective bargaining agreements are not concluded, and as a result, workers are not protected in their rights.

“Collective agreements are the main tool for building effective labor relations between employers and employees,” Eraly Tuganzhanov emphasized.

As of November 1 of the current year, 112 958 were concluded in the country – this represents only 43.3% of the number of operating enterprises and organizations. At the same time, enterprises in which there are primary trade union organizations are covered by 98%.

In this regard, the Federation of Trade Unions proposes to consolidate the mandatory conclusion of collective agreements in all organizations and enterprises on a legislative basis.

Labor conflicts and solutions

A separate block of the FPRK proposals concerns the prevention and resolution of labor conflicts.

According to FPRK, for 10 months of this year 17 collective labor disputes were recorded in the republic, mainly at enterprises where a trade union is not organized.

Among the causes of social and labor disputes are low wages;

the imbalance of wages between foreign and domestic workers (a difference of 4-5 times); employer refusal from the model of social partnership interaction; imperfection of the current legislation in the field of labor and trade union activity.

As part of the implementation of tasks to prevent and resolve labor disputes, the Federation of Trade Unions proposes: to organize joint work to conduct continuous monitoring of the social and labor situation in the regions; to carry out work to assess the quality and content of collective agreements in organizations of the mining and metallurgical, oil and gas industries, including companies with foreign participation; conduct joint training of workers and employers in the basics of labor legislation, developing skills in negotiating skills and reaching consensus in labor conflicts.

Work-related injuries should be addressed by an interagency working group

Trade unions are also concerned about the high level of work-related injuries, with fatalities at many enterprises and the issue of occupational diseases.

“In Kazakhstan, more than 200 people die every year from industrial injuries. Moreover, more than 65% of deaths are caused by the employer. The current labor protection system is more focused on eliminating the consequences of incidents, rather than on preventing them, ”emphasized Yeraly Tugzhanov.

As the Head of FPRK emphasized, the registered level of occupational diseases does not reflect the true situation and is not adequate to the state of working conditions in Kazakhstan.

In this regard, he proposed the creation of an interagency working group to analyze and develop proposals on this issue.

Federation of trade unions invites the Government, together with social partners, to develop measures to introduce a safety management system at enterprises; the introduction of a norm in the Labor Code on the mandatory creation of production councils at enterprises and organizations of the country; the provision of tax preferences to socially oriented employers for expenses associated with the modernization of the technical condition of equipment, facilities, elimination of deficiencies in the organization of jobs; introduction of legislative amendments on issues of payment of compensation for damage suffered at work, ensuring their fair social protection; the introduction of a professional pathologist at large industrial enterprises.

Continuing the theme of occupational diseases, the Deputy Chairman of the FPRK Mukhtar Tinikeev noted the importance of revising the retirement age for miners.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, this issue is under consideration by the interagency working group.

Summing up the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Berdybek Saparbayev, gave a number of instructions to the participants in the social partnership.

In particular, to develop an individual Social Partnership Map by region; to work out the clauses of the General Agreement between social partners taking into account the real situation on the ground. The local executive bodies have been given the task of intensifying work together with employers and trade unions to observe the social and labor rights of workers.

“Trade unions should be at all enterprises,” the Vice Prime Minister emphasized.