The Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan held an extended discussion of social and labor issues with the participation of members of the General Council of the FTURK and representatives of trade union organizations from all sectors and regions of the country.
During the meeting, the generalized proposals of trade union organizations on the qualitative improvement of the wage system, which were announced by the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions at a meeting of the Republican Tripartite Commission on Social Partnership and Regulation of Social and Labor Relations, were discussed.
Anticipating the discussion, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin drew special attention of the participants to the relevance of issues of improving the social and labor sphere and developing systemic measures to improve the welfare of Kazakhstanis.
“The initiatives of the President of the country to introduce a new economic policy are the most important issue today in the light of the tragic January events that took place in our country,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin.
As the Chairman of the FTURK emphasized, on January 7, the Executive Committee of the Federation of Trade Unions made an Appeal to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, which reflects the position of trade unions on the causes of mass protests and systemic measures to stabilize the socio-economic situation.
Speaking about the problematic issues of the wage system, the Chairman of the FTURK Satybaldy Dauletalin noted that the Federation of Trade Unions has repeatedly raised the issue of the need for mandatory legislative fixing of wage indexation annually at the level of inflation.
“The proposals announced at the meeting of the Republican Trilateral Commission primarily concerned issues of increasing incomes of the population. The analysis of collective labor agreements showed that only 10% of collective agreements cover the issue of indexing. In accordance with subparagraph 2) paragraph 2 of Article 157 of the Labor Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the inclusion in the collective agreement of the procedure for indexing wages is only a possibility, and not its mandatory provision. In practice, it is not always possible for trade unions to provide for this rule in a collective agreement. This situation does not allow us to fully ensure the interests of ordinary workers,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin.
At the same time, he stressed that the employer’s disregard for the opinion of employees largely contributed to the growth of social conflict.
“The employer is obliged to conduct labor consultations, solve issues of decent work. Within the framework of the working group on improving legislation, we will definitely take into account these measures,” the Chairman of the FTURK noted.
Gulnara Zhumageldieva, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, told about the progress of work on the formation of the package of proposals of the FTURK.
According to her, proposals to improve labor and socio-economic relations were received from 19 branch trade unions and 14 territorial unions of trade unions.
“The proposals received from member organizations primarily relate to issues of wages, the subsistence minimum, occupational safety and health, insurance payments, increasing the amount of temporary disability benefits, lowering the retirement age of workers employed in special working conditions, developing social partnership, ratifying ILO conventions and improving labor and trade union legislation,” Gulnara Zhumageldieva said.
As the Deputy Chairman of the FTURK stressed, some proposals are specific, sectoral in nature and require additional consideration.
“The Federation of Trade Unions submitted a number of proposals to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population regarding the introduction of amendments and additions to the Labor Code in terms of wage indexation, setting the maximum level of the ratio of salaries of managers and ordinary workers, establishing the minimum wage, the wage system, the procedure for paying wages, the content collective agreement, the participation of employees in the management of the enterprise,” said Gulnara Zhumageldieva.
The participants of the meeting expressed support for the initiatives of the FTURK, noting their effectiveness and timeliness.
Mirbolat Zhakypov, Chairman of the Branch Trade Union of Employees of State, Banking Institutions and Public Services, noted the importance of measures to transfer the issue of wage indexation to the plane of legislative regulation.
Tatyana Sherstobitova, chairperson of the trade union organization SSGPO and related enterprises, expressed her opinion on the need to fix indexation issues in the legislative field.
“Time dictates new rules. Despite the understanding on the part of the employer, in the course of work on a collective agreement, remuneration issues are regulated only with the approval of the employer. Issues such as indexation should be enshrined in law,” Tatyana Sherstobitova believes.
Anuar Aitmurzin, a legal consultant of the Industrial Trade Union of Mechanical Engineers, also noted the ineffectiveness of regulating the issue of wage indexation at the level of collective agreements.
Orazbek Bekbas, chairman of the Branch Trade Union of Power Engineers, emphasized that the Federation of Trade Unions touches upon the most burning issues for the population. At the same time, he proposed transferring the function of approving the values of inter-digit coefficients determined by the Industry Agreement to the competence of the Government.
“In December, we adopted the Sectoral Agreement in the field of energy. In the course of negotiations with the representative of the employer, it was not possible to resolve the issue of the size of the inter-digit coefficient in full. We consider it necessary that the inter-digit coefficient in the real sector be approved by the Government,” Orazbek Bekbas said.
Chairman of the Kostanay regional branch of the Mining and Metallurgical Trade Union “Kazprofmetal” Mikhail Litoshenko proposed to take measures aimed at strengthening the role of trade unions in the process of issuing acts of the employer.
“Taking into account the existing experience, in Article 12 of the Labor Code it is necessary to provide for the procedure of approval of acts of the employer with representatives of employees,” Mikhail Litoshenko noted.
A similar proposal was made by the chairman of the Branch Trade Union of the Oil and Gas Complex Sultan Galiyev.
He stressed that the proposals of the FTURK fully reflect the socio-economic problems of workers.
“We need to return to the Labor Code the norm that the employer, when adopting acts related to social and labor relations, does not take into account the opinion of trade unions, but coordinates with trade unions. This is a fundamental task of trade unions,” Sultan Kaliyev stressed.
“The salary increase, which should be accompanied by legislative indexation, will entail a real increase in the incomes of the population. The participation of trade unions in production management is also important. We need to know what funds are spent on labor safety, employee training, etc. Today, everything suggests that a new law on social partnership is needed. We must return to the Law “On Trade Unions” the legislative initiative of trade unions,” Sultan Kaliyev stressed.
Batyrbek Nurpeisov, a specialist in legal issues and mediation of the Trade Union Center of the East Kazakhstan region, shared his opinion on the need for wage indexation.
Кairat Ustemirov, Chairman of the Industry Trade Union of Forestry and Wildlife, dwelled on the issue of a fair wage system. He suggested considering the issue of creating equal wage conditions for workers of all categories.“Salary is a socially significant category. We propose to include wage indexation in the minimum social standards in the sphere of labor so that the state guarantees wage indexation. It is necessary that trade unions have the right to take part in these projects and be members of the Commission as full members,” Batyrbek Nurpeisov believes.
“It’s no secret that the forestry and fisheries sector is the lowest paid in the public sector. In 2016, the Labor Code introduced surcharges for forestry workers in rural areas in the amount of 20%. However, this measure did not affect employees of accounting and other support positions. They also work in rural areas, but they cannot take advantage of the established surcharge,” said Kairat Ustemirov.
Kerim Primkulov, Chairman of the Industry Trade Union of the Chemical, Petrochemical and Related Industries, expressed his opinion on the importance of building a constructive social partnership.
“Today, in many industries there are no social partners representing employers. We believe that it is necessary to return NCE Atameken to the circle of the negotiation process on behalf of all employers,” Kerim Primkulov believes.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Nikiforov, Chairman of the Sectoral Trade Union of Coal Industry Workers, believes that social dialogue should be built directly with the owners of enterprises.
“Practice shows that we need mechanisms that allow us to reach the final beneficiaries,” Mikhail Nikiforov said.
Bakhytzhan Kuanyshev, Deputy Chairman of the Sectoral Trade Union of Railway, Automobile, Air and Water Transport Workers, noted the relevance of introducing legislative changes on wages.
He also voiced a proposal to take measures to reduce the retirement age for workers employed in hazardous working conditions and to introduce compensation for additional expenses and increased labor costs associated with working and living in regions with difficult climatic conditions.
Marat Mirgayazov, Chairman of the Industry Trade Union of Coal Miners Kazugleprof, made proposals on reducing the retirement age and measures to ensure labor safety.
“Today it is important to identify issues that require urgent solutions. Trade unions do not participate in the discussion of the budget and action plan for labor safety at the enterprise. We believe that the employer should coordinate these issues with the representative of the employee,” said Marat Mirgayazov.
Chairman of the FTURK Satybaldy Dauletalin, in turn, noted that the RTK meeting approved the Concept of safe labor until 2030, which contains a number of norms that allow trade unions to really participate in the process of managing the labor protection system.
Summarizing the speeches of the participants, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions assured that all proposals received from member organizations will be considered by the Executive Committee and the General Council of the FTURK and taken into account in the course of further work on improving legislation.
Satybaldy Dauletalin called on his colleagues to strengthen trade union unity in developing systematic measures to form a new socio-economic policy of Kazakhstan.
Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan