Trade unions of Central Asia under the auspices of the International Labor Organization within the framework of the two–day Regional Conference for Trade Unions of Central Asia: “Inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience – trade union policy to mitigate the consequences of the crisis” discuss measures to stabilize the social and labor sphere in the post-pandemic period.

The conference is organized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) together with the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan in order to develop an international dialogue, exchange views and country experience of trade unions on overcoming the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcoming the participants, Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin recalled that in June last year the International Labor Conference adopted a Global Call for Action to Recover from the COVID-19 crisis that affected the lives of all mankind.
“As part of the international trade union movement, the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan supported the ILO’s declared policy of overcoming the economic crisis and mitigating its consequences, ensuring inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience,” Satybaldy Dauletalin stressed.
According to the Chairman of the FTURK, the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan is currently developing a parity discussion with social partners on further measures to normalize the situation in the social and labor sphere in the post-pandemic period.
At the same time, he noted the importance of support from the International Labor Organization and the International Trade Union Confederation.
“The Federation continues the process of initiating the ratification by the Republic of Kazakhstan of the most important ILO conventions aimed at further implementation of international standards and norms into national legislation, we have achieved, together with republican trade union associations, the inclusion in the General Agreement of the ratification of 20 ILO conventions,” the Chairman of the FTURK said.
Addressing the conference participants, he called on foreign colleagues in 2022 to take joint actions to intensify bilateral and multilateral ties with partners, develop a common position to overcome the socio-economic crisis in the region.
At the same time, Satybaldy Dauletalin proposed to work out a step–by-step approach in cooperation with the ILO for the further development of social partnership in the participating countries of the conference.
Maria Helena Andre, co–organizer of the conference, Director of the ACTRAV/ILO Workers’ Activities Bureau, noted the importance of joint effective measures in the post-pandemic period.

She also noted that trade unions should initiate steps to overcome the crisis, focusing on supporting vulnerable segments of the population, solving unemployment issues, preserving jobs and expanding trade union membership in order to more effectively protect the rights and interests of broad segments of the working masses, including the self-employed.
“At the moment, we must mobilize all our forces concerning the unstable working conditions of citizens. Our tasks include solving the problems of unemployment, infringement of the rights of women in the labor sector, young people who do not have the opportunity to study,” Maria Helena Andre emphasized.
In turn, Sergeyus Glovackas, Head of the ACTRAV/ILO Europe and Central Asia Department, emphasized the full role of trade unions in the social partnership system in overcoming the crisis.

The international expert presented the Anti-Crisis Policy and recommendations of the ILO and presented the ILO’s Global Call for Action to Overcome the Human-centered COVID-19 crisis.
According to him, governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations from the 187 member States of the International Labour Organization have committed to a strong and concerted global response in support of human-oriented recovery strategies of the ILO member States.
“Issues such as wage increases, job preservation and employee protection should be resolved jointly by all parties to the social partnership on the basis of labor consultations. In this regard, I will emphasize the key role of trade unions as the main representatives of workers,” Sergeyus Glovackas said.
Meanwhile, Gocha Alexandria, a senior specialist in working with workers at the ILO Bureau for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, noted that trade unions are called upon to promote principles for overcoming the crisis caused by COVID-19.

“Despite the different levels of development of social partnership in the region, trade unions should remain carriers of progressive changes in favor of the interests of workers. No one should be left behind, and trade unions have many tools to solve problematic issues through multilateral dialogue. This is the essence of the Global Human-centered Call to Action,” the speaker said.
The heads of the delegations of the national trade union centers of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan spoke about the consequences of the impact of the pandemic on the social and labor sphere of their states.
Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan Maliksho Nematzoda noted the importance of the regional conference aimed at discussing pressing issues related to the social protection of workers in Central Asian countries.
“Despite the difficult times, for the first time we were able to organize a single regional structure – the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asia. Together, we intend to promote the principles of decent work and improve the well-being of the inhabitants of our countries. Our task is to work together with the International Labor Organization and our regional partners to develop initiatives that will allow citizens of Central Asian countries to get out of the post–pandemic crisis with the least losses,” Maliksho Nematzoda stressed.

The head of the delegation, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Rysgul Babayeva, spoke about the actions of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan to overcome the crisis.
According to her, the period after the pandemic crisis, while maintaining the existing budget deficit, high unemployment, low wages, has become a difficult test for the citizens of Kyrgyzstan.
“In order to reduce the negative economic consequences for Kyrgyzstan, the country’s trade unions took part in the development of the National Development Program of the Kyrgyz Republic until 2026, a plan of priority measures to minimize the consequences of external shocks,” said Rysgul Babayeva.
Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan Yarkun Fayzullayev noted that measures were taken to support the population in the form of exemption of small businesses from property and land taxes, write-off of amounts on them, expansion of the number of recipients of benefits to families with children, self-employed citizens of more than 60 professions were exempt from income tax.
The conference discussed the actions of national trade unions to overcome the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, as well as issues of social dialogue, national programs on decent work, exchange of experience and knowledge.
Presenting the anti-crisis measures taken by the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gulnara Zhumageldiyeva said that at the peak of the pandemic 1.2 million people were temporarily unemployed in the country, and about half of the adult population of the country was in a difficult financial situation. In this regard, the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan has also carried out a number of activities to support the population.
“Hotlines and operational headquarters were established in all regional trade union centers of the FTURK, which carried out daily monitoring of compliance with the rights of employees. Not a single appeal of workers was left without trade union support, including workers who are not covered by trade union membership. During all this time, trade union organizations have received more than 14 thousand appeals from workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, financial assistance has been provided to citizens totaling 500 million tenge,” Gulnara Zhumageldieva said.
In addition, according to her, the Federation of Trade Unions initiated a number of appeals to social partners to prevent the mass release of workers, arrears in wages and social contributions, unjustified deterioration of working conditions, as well as on the settlement of the system of surcharges and allowances for certain categories of employees of educational, healthcare organizations and state support to domestic producers.
Since the declaration of a state of emergency in the country by the Federation of Trade Unions, 3 sanatoriums and 3 hotels have been transferred to the needs of coronavirus fighters.
According to her, at present, the issues of salary increase, its timely payment continue to be the most urgent. At the initiative of trade unions, the current General Agreement for 2021-2023 fixes issues such as the ratification of 20 ILO conventions, including ILO Convention No. 131 “On the establishment of a minimum wage with special consideration for developing countries”, the development of a Roadmap for the implementation of the Concept of Decent Work, the improvement of the wage system, consideration of a phased increase in the amount of minimum wage, its annual indexation.
“This year, the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan has declared the Year of Social Partnership, within the framework of which an extensive set of measures aimed at improving the welfare of employees, interaction of the state, employers and trade unions on issues of social and labor relations is planned,” Gulnara Zhumageldieva noted.
According to her, in order to maintain stability in labor collectives, the Federation initiated the use of such a tool as “Labor Consultations” and invited social partners to consolidate this practice at the legislative level as a mandatory mechanism of social partnership.
The experience of Uzbek trade unions was shared by the head of the department of organizational work of the staff of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan Kamoliddin Isroilov.
“It should be noted that the participation of trade union organizations in the work of the Republican Anti-Crisis Commission both in the center and in the regions made it possible to monitor and control the situation in terms of ensuring labor protection and social protection. After consultations with the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan, the Government approved a package of support for business and entrepreneurs, which provides tax holidays and preferences on credit debt, as well as allocates budget loans to industries most affected by the coronavirus,” Kamoliddin Isroilov said.
According to him, more than 2.5 million citizens of the republic lost their jobs, about 400 thousand enterprises temporarily stopped their activities or reduced their workload due to the impact of the coronavirus, more than 200 thousand families were below the poverty line.
“The Anti-Crisis Fund under the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of Uzbekistan allocated 200 billion rubles to solve these and other problems within the framework of consultations with trade unions. sumov,” Kamoliddin Isroilov added.
In the afternoon of the conference, national professional centers presented programs on social dialogue.
Chairman of the Committee on Socio-Economic Relations and Social Partnership of the FTURK Saruar Kenzhebulat spoke about the participation of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the development of the Law “On Social Partnership” and the National Report on Social and Labor Relations in the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as initiatives to modernize the social partnership system at all levels, including the Republican Tripartite Commission and others measures to support the interests of employees.
Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan Ismoil Faizizoda, Head of the Department for the Protection of Socio-Economic Interests of Workers of the staff of the FPU Mahmudjon Isaev, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Rysgul Babayeva, Head of the Socio-Economic Department for Public Relations and International Relations of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan Jamshed Yunusov shared about building a Social Dialogue in the post-crisis period in their countries.
Following the results of the first day of the conference, the participants visited the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where they were presented with the FTURK front office – “Legal Clinic”, the Tatylasy Point Reconciliation Center and the FTURK Bilim Center Training Center and a youth coworking center.
The Forum will continue its work on May 13, during which the participants of the conference will be presented the ILO training manual for workers’ organizations “Overcoming Crises arising from Conflicts and Natural Disasters”, as well as the ACTRAV Manual “ILO Declaration on Multinational Companies: what’s in it for the workers? Ways of implementation”. An action plan for cooperation between ACTRAV/ILO and trade unions of Central Asian countries will also be adopted.
It should be noted that the current conference is of particular importance for the trade union movement of Kazakhstan, since it takes place within the framework of the first official foreign visit of the ILO Mission after the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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