From October 18 to 22, a delegation of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan headed by Chairman Satybaldy Dauletalin paid a working visit to the headquarters of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva and the office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Brussels.
During the negotiations of the Kazakh delegation with Maria Helena Andre, Director of the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities ACTRAV, Heinz Koller, Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of the ILO, Karen Curtis, Head of the Freedom of Association Department, Sergeyus Glovackas, Head of the Europe and Central Asia Department, a number of agreements were reached on the implementation of joint projects.
At a meeting with Maria Helena Andre, Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities of ACTRAV, the Chairman of the FTURK Satybaldy Dauletalin informed about the work done in Kazakhstan within the framework of eliminating the comments of the ILO Committee of Experts, the Committee on the Application of Standards on Freedom of Association, including the amendments and additions to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Trade Unions” and labor legislation. Speaking about the current activities of the Federation of Trade Unions and the results achieved, Maria Helena Andre noted the importance of the steps taken by the Federation to develop social and labor relations in Kazakhstan and the progress made by the Federation of Trade Unions in developing the internal potential of trade unions, contributing to the socio-economic development of the country, ensuring gender equality and promoting the ratification of ILO Conventions №131, №102, №190.
The Chairman of the FTURK noted the importance of a series of webinars held by the ILO during the pandemic on the role of trade unions in ensuring the safety and health of workers, developing new working conditions, protecting specific categories of workers, non-discrimination, social security and employment protection, as well as a number of online trainings for trade union leaders to ensure their effective interaction with governments and employers on employment, social protection, wage protection, labor protection and specific policy measures that can be used to support a human-centered approach to crisis management and recovery efforts.
Satybaldy Dauletalin thanked the Bureau for Workers’ Activities ACTRAV for the implementation of joint projects, ILO publications and comprehensive support to trade unions in Kazakhstan.
The parties also discussed further actions of trade union organizations during the socio-economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus infection has caused huge losses to the economy, labor markets and society around the world. The new working conditions have a serious impact on the income, health and safety of all workers, mainly informally and irregularly employed.
“This new situation, while creating a new challenge for the trade union movement, nevertheless highlights the fundamental role it can play in protecting all workers, especially in the workplace, in the absence of effective unemployment benefits in existing social security systems and the absence of alternative comprehensive social protection systems. At the center of this process is social dialogue and negotiations between employers and trade unions,” said the Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities ACTRAV.
The parties agreed that workers and their representatives should actively cooperate with employers, both in the public and private sectors, in the development and implementation of preventive and protective measures. Workers’ associations should contribute to the prevention and protection of workers by providing updated information and promoting solidarity and non-discrimination of workers.
Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin stressed that in an unprecedented time of crisis, trade unions should strengthen social dialogue in order to ensure a lasting, sustainable restoration of the socio-economic situation in any country.
At the end of the meeting, Maria Helena Andre noted that positive changes are taking place in the activities of the Federation of Trade Unions and that the Bureau for Workers’ Activities ACTRAV, for its part, will support and assist her in developing the potential of trade unions.
As part of discussions with the Regional Director Heinz Koller, agreements were reached on technical assistance from the ILO on the ratification of conventions, the promotion of decent work principles and the development of a new country program.
The issues of direct contact mission, organization of a working meeting on freedom of association, legal assistance, training of trade union activists were discussed with the Head of the Freedom of Association Department Karin Curtis.
At the meeting with the Head of the Department of Europe and Central Asia Sergeyus Glovackas and the employee on Labor Law and Jurisprudence Melanie Zhanra, the issues of organizing technical assistance from the ILO on the legal clinic, comments from the Bureau for Workers’ Activities on compliance with international labor standards on amendments to trade union and labor legislation developed by trade unions, providing international experience in the registration of trade unions and developing a plan for further work for the upcoming period were considered.
At the office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in Brussels, the delegation of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan also held a number of constructive negotiations with the leadership of the ITUC. Meetings were held with the General Secretary of the ITUC Sharan Barrow, the Executive Secretary of the VERS Anton Leppik, the heads of ITUC divisions Olga Nicolae, Alison Tate, Bart de Vel, Paapa Danqua, Paola Simonetti, as well as with representatives of Belgian trade unions.
During the conversation with the Secretary General of the ITUC Sharan Barrow, issues of the current work of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, aspects of
intra-union activities, as well as issues of the implementation of the ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association were discussed.
Sharan Barrow noted positive changes in the activities of the Federation of Trade Unions on the development of trade union pluralism. The Secretary General of the ITUC stressed the importance of the joint work of the three republican trade union associations, which made it possible to conclude a new General Agreement. The Secretary-General noted that by acting as a united front, more can be achieved in the socio-economic development of the whole country.
The ITUC also welcomed the steps taken by the Federation of Trade Unions to integrate with the national trade unions of Central Asian countries, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
“For its part, the ITUC is ready to provide any assistance and support in matters of training, expert assistance, organizing,” Sharan Barrow stressed.
ITUC Secretary General Sharan Barrow also spoke about the priorities of the International Trade Union Confederation.
“Governments should have one main priority – jobs. They need to return to full employment. This provides the basis for economic security and social justice. The requirement of the ITUC is to achieve the goal of creating 565 million jobs and formalizing at least half of informal jobs by 2030. This is the only way to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal №8, and achieving Goal №8 is the key to achieving the other SDGs. We call on Governments to urgently sit down at the negotiating table with trade unions, employers and other parties and set ambitious goals to create and preserve jobs. And then they need to achieve these goals by ensuring the creation of environmentally friendly jobs in order to stabilize the planet and create a zero-carbon economy,” Sharan Barrow said.
According to her, special attention should be paid to employment in the vital areas of human care and infrastructure. Our demand for jobs is quite achievable, in particular, if governments pursue a fair tax policy, and do not allow a small number of people to save hundreds of billions of dollars, avoiding paying taxes. This income can give a boost to job creation.
“The ITUC is entering into a new social contract. The global labor market is broken. Governments have failed to regulate work and have overlooked the goal of full employment. Employment is even more unstable than it was before the pandemic, and this requires a change in the rules so that people are protected from increasing exploitation and extensive insecurity. Jobs are absolutely essential to restore and enhance the resilience needed around the world to fight the pandemic and other threats to existence. Job creation is central to the New Social Contract, along with rights, social protection, equality and inclusion. The World Day of Struggle for Decent Work will strengthen the call for “Fair Jobs” and, as noted in our campaign, will help overcome the crisis of informality,” said Sharan Barrow, Secretary General of the ITUC.
At the meetings with the specialists of the ITUC, Bart de Velez and Alison Tate, the issues of socio-economic direction, climate change, fair transition and the creation of green jobs were discussed. Bart de Vel shared the experience of the ITUC on climate change and the creation
of green jobs. He noted that for unions, the term “Fair Transition” describes the transition to a sustainable climate change and low-carbon economy that maximizes the benefits of climate change action while minimizing hardship for workers and their communities. According to the International Trade Union Confederation, the needs related to a fair transition will vary from country to country, although there are common strategies that countries should adopt, including:
– Reliable sector investments and technologies with low emissions and a large number of jobs. These investments should be carried out through proper consultations with all concerned, with respect for human rights and labor rights, as well as the principles of decent work.
– Social dialogue and democratic consultations with social partners (trade unions and employers) and other stakeholders (e.g. communities).
– Research and early assessment of the impact of climate policy on society and employment. Training and development of skills that are key to supporting the introduction of new technologies and stimulating industrial change.
Chairman of the FTURK Satybaldy Dauletalin noted that the Federation of Trade Unions fully supports the 2007 international initiative for a fair and impartial transition to a green economy, which is aimed “at mobilizing governments, employers and workers to engage in dialogue on coordinated policies and effective programs leading to a green economy with green jobs and decent work for everyone.”
“We stand in solidarity with the International Trade Union Confederation and international organizations that it is necessary to pay special attention to the importance of the participation of workers and trade unions in the development of sustainable development strategies. Undoubtedly, today an important role is assigned to trade unions in ensuring a “fair transition” to a more sustainable economic model, and promoting socially responsible economic development, social justice and decent work,” the Chairman of the FTURK noted.
According to Satybaldy Dauletalin, in 2013 Kazakhstan adopted a Concept and developed a plan for the transition to a “green” economy. This document launched the transition to a “green” economy as a strategic priority. Currently, Kazakhstan needs to improve the legislative framework and strategic documents on “green” jobs and approve the definition of “green” jobs in accordance with recognized definitions at the global level.
“The Federation of Trade Unions, in the Strategy of Activity for 2020-2025 “In unity for justice and development”, outlined a number of specific tasks in this direction, taking into account the fact that many jobs will be redistributed during the greening of the economy. One of the priorities of the Strategy is to ensure the rights of workers to social protection, health protection, vocational training, retraining and advanced training,” the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions said, and gave an example: Caustic JSC (Pavlodar region) was one of the first in Kazakhstan to implement the World Health Organization project “Healthy Workplaces”. A Memorandum on the implementation of the project was signed between the relevant structures of local executive bodies and JSC, a working group of 27 people was created, a work plan was developed to analyze the risks of each workplace and a passport of the health status of each employee.
In a conversation with Alison Tate, the issues of the ITUC’s global campaign on wages were raised. According to her, the ITUC has prepared a report on wages, in which the governments of the countries are recommended:
– Legislatively establish minimum wage levels that will allow workers and their families to live with dignity, in combination with comprehensive social protection systems of the population. Such measures will support official employment, increase productivity and job creation, boost employment, curb mass emigration and the drain of skilled labor, and support inclusive economic development.
– To ensure the calculation of minimum wages based on established facts, taking into account the real cost of living. Moreover, the minimum wage should be set through a transparent process with the full participation of social partners, as well as regularly updated to take into account inflation and changes in the cost of living.
– To resolve issues of salary arrears and ensure the application of minimum wages by conducting inspections by a labor inspectorate provided with sufficient resources, as well as by imposing restraining penalties on enterprises for non-compliance with ILO Convention №131 (on the establishment of minimum wages), which has been ratified by most countries in the region. The payment of salaries should become a priority for debt repayment in cases of bankruptcy, in accordance with ILO Convention №95 (on the Protection of Wages).
– To establish an adequate and comprehensive system of social protection of the population in accordance with international norms of labor relations, including ILO Convention №102 on Minimum Standards of Social Security and Recommendation №202.
– To ensure and support the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in order to achieve fair wages above the minimum wage.
The parties agreed that workers should have the right to unionize and negotiate with their employers to establish appropriate salaries and compensation for their work.
Issues of international labor standards, trade union freedoms, human rights, registration of trade unions, improvement of legislation were discussed with the Director of the Legal Department of Paapa Danqua.
During the visit of the delegation of the Federation of Trade Unions headed by the Chairman of the FTURK Satybaldy Dauletalin to the office of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), meetings were also held with the Director of the Department for Trade Union Rights Jeroen Beynaert and the Director of the Equality Department Paola Simonetti. The issues of trade union rights and freedoms, gender equality, social protection, employment, various campaigns in the social and labor sphere were discussed. During the negotiations, it was noted that at present the ITUC, joining forces with global trade unions, the ILO, is working to recognize labor protection as a fundamental norm.
In addition, the FPRC delegation met with the representative of the General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium (CGSLB) Maresa Le Roux. The parties exchanged
experience of the trade unions of Kazakhstan and Belgium on the development of the system of social partnership and organizing, methods of protecting workers’ rights were considered.
Following the results of the meetings in the ITUC, the parties agreed that they would continue interaction and cooperation in various areas of activity, and a joint action plan would also be developed.
Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan