The Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan and its member organizations enthusiastically accepted a number of very significant initiatives for working people including a raise of the minimum wage which was announced by the Presidential message of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the people of Kazakhstan.
In the conditions of the market, the minimum wage is one of the main tools for state regulation of the salary level as it is designed to protect the employee from arbitrariness on the part of the employer when determining the price of labor. Undoubtedly, wages have been and remain the basis of their well-being for most members of society and through it the idea of social justice of the social structure is formed.
The Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan on various platforms initiated and promoted the solution of the issue of a consistent increase in the wages of Kazakhstani workers including an increase of the minimum wage. And the instructions given today by the Head of State are a vivid example of building a “hearing state” in practice.
The increase of the minimum wage from 42500 tenge to 60 thousand tenge will affect more than a million people who work in all industries at enterprises of various forms of ownership.
A significant and very necessary step has been taken aimed at improving the standard of living of working Kazakhstanis. Everyone will benefit from an increase of the minimum wage with a favorable course of events therefore it will mean a nominal, albeit small, increase in wages as a whole.
The increase of the minimum wage is an improving in the level of economic independence of citizens. The second is the reduction of state spending on social programs by reducing the number of people who could previously qualify for this assistance receiving low labor incomes. The third is an increase in labor costs, the employer will strive to increase its productivity which means that it needs more highly paid and qualified employees. The fourth is the removal of hidden wages from the “shadow”.
The level and dynamics of wages is one of the major criteria for assessing the social effectiveness of the economic transformations carried out in the country. According to the President, the increase in the minimum wage will lead to an increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.5 percent.
Wages are the main source of income for 6.5 million employees. As the President noted, the growth of the wage fund lagged behind the growth of the profit of business owners by almost 60 percent. According to the trade unions, the decision of the Head of State to stimulate employers who increase the wages of employees will give a positive impetus to increasing the social responsibility of the employer to its employees.
We also tend to believe that relevant and fair the initiative of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on a phased annual salary increase for public sector employees starting from 2022, who in previous years were left out of salary increases (culture, sports, librarians, technical workers, etc.), since this decision will affect about 600 thousand low-paid civil servants.
Certainly, this is only the first step. There is still much to be done to improve people’s lives. For instance, to review the living wage, or how its value and the minimum consumer basket are formed.
The problem of wage regulation has been actively discussed in society in recent years and required a speedy resolution. In this regard, the Federation of Trade Unions supporting the decision of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev notes that there is a need to create a modern, flexible legislative framework in general in the field of employment, wage regulation and labor relations.
It should be noted that, in turn, the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan managed to fix in the General Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, republican associations of trade unions and republican associations of employers for 2021-2023 the issues related to the ratification of the WOL Convention No. 131 by Kazakhstan, the legislative consolidation of the annual indexation of wages. Currently, the social partners have approved a work plan and the composition of the working group for consultations on the ratification of the Convention, on the annual indexation of wages, a roadmap for considering the issue of raising the minimum wage.
It is gratifying that the President of the country is initiating important measures of socio-economic stimulation of the Working Person. This gives hope that a unified conceptual approach to the issue of wages, its essence and its resource provision will be formed in society.
Our position here is specific. If a person works, he should not be poor and the Federation of Trade Unions will always adhere to this principle and continue to achieve the strategic goal of consistently raising the minimum wage to the level corresponding to international wage standards.
Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions
of the Republic of Kazakhstan