Today, on July 27, 2021, an extended meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Professional Center of Almaty was held online.

The online meeting was attended by Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin, First Deputy Chairman of the FTURC Mukhtar Tinikeev, Adviser to the Chairman of the FTURK Birzhan Nurymbetov, Chairman of the Trade Union Center of Almaty Zauresh Umirbayeva, as well as representatives of member trade union organizations of the city.

Zauresh Umirbayeva, the chairman of the Trade Union Center of Almaty, reported about the activities of the territorial association of trade unions for the 1st half of the year and the implementation of the tasks which was set in the FTURC Strategy for 2020-2025 including the development of social partnership, prevention and resolution of labor conflicts, ensuring labor safety and decent wages and organizational strengthening of the trade union movement.

According to the Trade Union Center, 715 primary trade union organizations, united in 11 branches of branch and 11 local trade unions, carry out their activities at enterprises and organizations of the city. The socio-economic interests and labor rights of 200 thousand trade union members are taken under the protection of trade unions, the coverage of trade union membership of employees of enterprises and organizations of the city is 23%.

As Zauresh Umirbayeva added, on April 20, the Trade Union Center of Almaty signed a Regional trilateral agreement for 2021-2023.

“The coverage of existing enterprises of the city of Almaty by collective agreements is 35.8%, while the national average is 47.6%. Wherever there are trade union organizations, there are high-quality collective agreements everywhere. We are working to improve the quality of the content of the collective agreements concluded. For this purpose, the positive experience of the local trade union “Energia” is being distributed. Amendments have been made to collective agreements, acts of the employer on the organization of the work of enterprises during the pandemic, on preventing mass release of workers, on taking measures aimed at improving the financial situation of working mothers with many children and low-income families. By July 1, 2021, 27,137 collective agreements for 75,888 operating enterprises were concluded and registered in the city. In this issue, almost all large (95.4%) and medium – sized enterprises (100%) have signed collective agreements, now we are working with small enterprises (34.5%),” Zauresh Umirbaeva said.

On the issue of ensuring labor safety, as Z. Umirbayeva emphasized that the Trade Union Center together with social partners developed and adopted the regional program “Safe Work” for 2021-2023.

“For 6 months of 2021, 41 accidents occurred in the city (24 of them were light, 15 were heavy, 3 were fatal), 42 people were injured. Out of 41 accidents, only in 6 cases there are trade union organizations at enterprises. In all these cases, trade union committees took part in the investigation of the accident. At enterprises where trade unions operate, 582 Production Councils for Safety and labor Protection have been established, where 815 technical labor inspectors exercise control,” the chairman of the Trade Union Center of Almaty noted.

In addition, Zauresh Umirbayeva reported on the current problems that need to be resolved.

“There are issues that have not found a positive solution. We are talking about increasing the salaries of individual employees – school librarians, administrative and technical staff of schools, kindergartens and colleges, employees of energy transmission organizations, support staff of social services, as well as medical workers of sports institutions, cultural workers and other issues,” Zauresh Umirbayeva said.

During the meeting, the chairman of the city local trade union “Ustaz” Serikzhan Baiguttinov, the chairman of the city trade union organization of the branch of the Branch Trade Union of education workers Galina Samatokina, the chairman of the branch of the Branch Trade Union of health workers “Senim” Almas Nesipkaliyev, the chairman of the local trade union “Almaty International Airport” Daniyar Altybayev, the chairman of the branch of the Branch Trade Union of railway, automobile, air and water transport workers Nurzhan Askarbayev made remarkable reports on the branches.

After hearing the results of the work of trade union organizations, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions Satybaldy Dauletalin gave a positive evaluation of the activities of trade unions in Almaty and appealed to the city trade union activists to unite in promoting the interests of the Labor Man.

Satybaldy Dauletalin elaborated on the priority areas of the Federation of Trade Unions’ activities to improve the employees welfare.

“The main question is how much you see changes taking place in the activities of the Federation of Trade Unions today. We have a new format of activity based on democratic principles and on collective decision-making. For this purpose, the work of the General Council of the FTURK has been built in a new way. The General Council is divided into 6 permanent commissions, which are headed by representatives of Industry trade unions. They form the agenda by discussing issues that are submitted to the General Council for consideration with the broad involvement of representatives of primary trade union organizations and experts, which allows us to constructively develop solutions to the tasks of the trade union movement,” the chairman of the FTURK highlighted.

He also recalled the new staff of the members of the Executive Committee, 70% of which are representatives of Industry trade Unions, the FTURK Commission on Working Women’s Affairs and the Keleshek Youth Council.

The Chairman of the FTURK made a special emphasis on the issues of protecting the interests of employees within the framework of social partnership.

“On March 12 this year, a General Agreement was signed in which we managed to defend important issues on the protection of workers including wage issues. Currently, with the participation of the Federation, a working group has been established at the MTSZN to develop measures regarding the increase of the minimum wage, the ratification of the No. 131 Convention ILO and the consolidation of the norms on the annual indexation of wages in the Labor Code, ” Satybaldy Dauletalin reported.

At the same time, he noted that the level of the minimum wage should correspond to 50% of the average monthly salary.

“If the average salary in the country is now 206 thousand tenge, then the minimum wage should be 103 thousand tenge. Moreover, we insist on replacing such a concept as the” Basic Official salary”, which has not changed for many years, ” said the chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions.

Among the primary tasks, he pointed out the importance of legislative consolidation of wage indexation.

“Within the framework of collective-contractual regulation, the issues of wage indexation are solved ineffectively. Of the 148 thousand collective agreements in force in the country, indexing is provided for only in 10% of agreements. The legislative consolidation will allow improving the quality of workers ‘ working life by several steps,” says Satybaldy Dauletalin.

As the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan said, wage issues are one of the main causes of labor conflicts.

“Since the beginning of the year, 47 labor conflicts have been registered in the country. In most enterprises where conflicts have occurred, there are no trade unions. The FTURK and its member organizations participated in all the negotiation processes, which contributed to the early settlement of disputes. In 80% of all labor disputes, the claims of employees were satisfied and wages were increased. We are always on the side of the employees. All the conflicts that occurred were spontaneous in nature due to the complexity of holding strikes within the legal framework, which is a strong argument in favor of the fact that the current legislation is not worked out and is poorly suitable for resolving collective labor disputes. It is necessary to simplify the procedure for considering a collective labor dispute. It is necessary to give the right to trade unions to put forward a demand for declaring a strike, and this shows that we are ready today to take responsibility and act in the legal field. This will allow us to establish a social dialogue,” the Head of the FTURK noted.

Another reason for labor disputes, according to him, is the unwillingness of the employer to enter into a social dialogue with employees. “The intra-industrial conflict is transferred to the social space, and it takes on a different form. It is important that employers understand that employees and employee associations represented by trade unions are equal partners with whom it is necessary to conduct a dialogue and establish a social partnership. There is a problem that employers as a whole have not yet formed as an association that could express the position of all employers. Unfortunately, the tripartite social partnership is still working on the basis of two parties. The state should help to ensure that the association of employers takes place, as well as to strengthen the role of trade unions as a full participant in social partnership,” Satybaldy Dauletalin said.

Among the problematic issues, he also pointed out the weak level of state control over compliance with labor legislation. “Today, the number of state labor inspectors is only 256 people. 1 inspector for 23 thousand employees. Whereas, according to the recommendations of the ILO, for the effective implementation of their functions, their number should be 1 inspector for no more than 10 thousand employees. State labor inspectors in Kazakhstan cover only 3% of enterprises and organizations with inspections per year. In addition, today there are a lot of restrictions for the work of state labor inspectors, which does not allow them to fully exercise the functions of state control. The Federation of Trade Unions has repeatedly taken the initiative to raise the status and powers of state labor inspectors, increase their number in the regions to a level that meets international standards and transfer the labor inspection to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. It is necessary to strengthen state control over compliance with labor legislation. Moreover, taking into account the changes in the sphere of labor and the need for systematic work, we consider it necessary to create a separate Ministry of Labor that would systematically deal with this issue,” said the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions Satybaldy Dauletalin.

In his speech, the Head of the FTURK informed the participants about the achievements of the Federation of Trade Unions in the framework of international cooperation and spoke about the project activities of trade unions.

The head of the FTURK highlighted the importance of the new format of meetings within the framework of the Coordination Council meeting besides this work will continue.

Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan