On Friday, October 7, during the Regional Conference of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries, organized in Almaty by the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan together with the International Labor Organization, recommendations were developed for trade union organizations in the region on further development of the labor market and ensuring decent work in the conditions of digitalization of economies.
On the second day of the Conference, international experts and representatives of National Trade Union Centers reviewed unique cases from the activities of trade union organizations and presented their strategies for the development of the trade union movement in new sectors of the economy.
International experts – Tamar Gabisoniya, head of the European Branch of the International Network of Lawyers Assisting Employees (ILAW), and Evgenia Li, researcher of the Solidarity Center of the Bishkek Office, shared their vision of the situation with the development of the platform economy in the region, including in Kazakhstan. According to them, with the development of new technologies in the region, the number of workers employed on digital platforms who are aware of the need to unite in trade unions is growing.
Giedre Lelut, Director of the Department of the Global Trade Union UNI SCORE, told the Conference participants about cases on the problems of workers in multinational companies and new sectors of the economy. The global trade union UNI unites 20 million employees of private companies around the world. The speaker noted that trade unions face an important task – to adapt their activities as quickly as possible in the context of the development of the digital economy, since tens of thousands of people around the world involved in platform employment do not have the opportunity to protect their labor rights.
Continuing the topic of the problem of uniting employees of digital platforms in trade union organizations, Chairman of the Committee on Socio-Economic Relations and Social Partnership of the FTURK Saruar Kenzhebulat noted the need to amend national legislation.
“Amendments to the legislation are needed to grant the right to form trade unions by platform employees, including opportunities to protect their rights and interests, negotiate, conclude agreements and collective agreements. They could merge into industry-specific ones. Local trade unions, create specialized public associations. To do this, it is necessary to identify specific categories of workers for the creation of trade union organizations and consultatively support the development of social partnership in the field of platform employment,” Saruar Kenzhebulat voiced the recommendations of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Representative of Tajikistan, chairman of the republican committee of the trade union of employees of state institutions, public banks Nargis Nazarzoda noted that in Tajikistan, platform employment is also a relatively new segment, and so far there are no precise definitions or regulatory framework for it. According to her, it is very important to develop a global social dialogue, as well as cooperation on regulatory issues between digital platforms, employees and governments. Over time this will allow us to develop a more effective and consistent approach to solving a number of tasks.
Meanwhile, the head of the Department for the protection of socio-economic interests of workers of the staff of the Federation of Uzbekistan Makhmudjon Isaev believes that it is necessary to involve all parties of social partnership within the Republican and territorial tripartite commissions in discussing problematic issues of informal and non-standard employment.
Chairman of the Central Committee of the Mining and Metallurgical Trade Union of Kyrgyzstan Eldar Tajibayev stressed the importance of conducting active information and explanatory work among informally employed workers of digital platforms.
In turn, Deputy Chairman of the National Center of Trade Unions of Turkmenistan Ataberdiyev Sapar, the expansion and introduction of digital processes at enterprises allows creating new technological jobs, and at the same time, becomes an occasion for the release of workers employed in traditional workplaces. In his opinion, responsibility for these people should lie not only on the shoulders of trade unions.
After discussing the proposals received from international experts and National Trade Union Centers, the Conference participants voiced their recommendations.
First of all, according to the professional leaders, it is necessary to determine the legal status of employees and employers of digital platforms, as well as to develop international standards, possibly new conventions of the International Labor Organization on platform employment. In addition, it is necessary to create a data bank on the number of employees of the platforms and the digital platforms themselves, as well as at the national level to adopt laws regulating platform employment and its participants and involve them in social dialogue.
Addressing the Conference participants, Maria Helena Andre, Director of the ACTRAV/ILO Workers’ Activities Bureau, noted the importance of consolidating regional trade union centers.
“One of the main outcomes of the Conference was the consolidation of the members of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries. The International Labour Organization intends to continue to interact and support the National Vocational Centers of the region within the framework of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian. I wish the National Trade Union centers participating in the Council to be a strong and effective side of social partnership,” the Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities ACTRAV/ILO wished.
Concluding the Conference, Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin thanked international experts, colleagues from National Trade Union Centers and representatives of the International Labor Organization for fruitful joint work within the framework of the forum and outlined the nearest plans of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian.
“I thank my colleagues from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, with whom we stood together at the origins of the creation of the Council. The Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries has taken place and will continue to develop. In one year from the moment of its creation, we managed to implement the initiative to create a regional educational hut – the Academy of Labor and Social Relations was established in Tashkent. Just two weeks ago, the Council was replenished with new members – the National Trade Union Centers of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. In the near future, we intend to strengthen cooperation on solving topical issues in the regional social and labor sphere, including on the problems of platform employment. We will meet all the challenges common to the region together, supporting each other. Unity is our strength!”, – stressed Satybaldy Dauletalin, concluding the Conference.
Meanwhile, within the framework of the Regional Conference, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin held a number of bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of National trade union centers of the region. During the conversation with the Deputy Chairman of the National Center of Trade Unions of Turkmenistan Sapar Ataberdiyev, issues of bilateral cooperation between the trade union centers of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as well as plans of Turkmen trade unions to integrate into the activities of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries were discussed.
The result of the bilateral meeting of the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybalda Dauletalin and Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Mongolia Erdenebat Sukhbaatar was the signing of an agreement between national trade union centers on strengthening cooperation on joint protection of the rights and interests of workers of the two countries.
In addition, within the framework of the Regional Conference, the Director of the ACTRAV/ILO Workers’ Activities Bureau, Maria Helena Andre, was awarded the “Yntymaktastyk” medal of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan by the previously adopted decision of the Executive Committee of the FTURK.
Thus, the FTURK appreciated the contribution made by Maria Helena Andre to the development and strengthening of international trade union solidarity, the dissemination of the ideas of the world trade union movement, and close cooperation with the national trade union center of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The day before, the Almaty Declaration was signed between the International Labor Organization and members of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries. According to the document, the cooperation of the ILO/ACTRAV and Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries will be aimed at strengthening the capacity of Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries to assist in solving important economic and social problems and stimulating economic progress in the Central Asian region.
Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan