On Friday, January 27, Astana hosted the Forum of Social Partners “New Social Contract: Fair Labor Relations”, organized by the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The forum is dedicated to the results of 2022, held under the auspices of the Year of Social Partnership.

Professional leaders of the Federation of Trade Unions and its affiliated organizations, heads of national trade union centers of Azerbaijan, Moldova and Turkey, representatives of the International Labor Organization and the International Trade Union Confederation, as well as social partners took part in its work.

Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin, addressing the participants, noted that trade unions propose to take new steps in building fair labor relations within the framework of the concept of a New social contract adopted at the V Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation in Melbourne.

“The most important condition for the development of the world of work is the formation of a New social contract focused on people and ensuring decent work conditions, which in turn will contribute to the sustainable development of socio-economic systems at the regional, national and global levels,” the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan shared his opinion.

Satybaldy Dauletalin noted the special role of trade unions in solving the problem of inequality in income distribution and poverty of working citizens.

“Our goal is to actively influence the redistribution of national income in the interests of the majority, that is, in the interests of the stable development of the whole society. The promotion of social justice is the main challenge facing trade unions today,” the Head of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan believes.

He called on social partners to move from the consultative stage to the phase of making concrete decisions and outlined a number of problems in the development of social partnership: the unwillingness of the subjects of labor relations to social dialogue, the lack of real equality of the parties; imperfection of the mechanism for the implementation of contractual conditions; inequality of the position of trade unions expressing the interests of employees in comparison with the state and employers with powerful resources of influence.

“Three types of respect should be reflected in the substantive part of social partnership – respect for the Person at work, respect for the work of citizens, respect for the interests of the parties to labor relations,” the Head of the FPRK is sure.

Trade unions see two directions for improving social partnership – in the development of new strategies of trade unions and employers’ associations, as well as in improving the efficiency of the RTK.

“The Federation is taking the initiative to raise the status of the republican trilateral commission, whose decisions should not be advisory, but binding for everyone,” he stressed.

The Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions called on social partners to work together on the content of agreements and collective agreements with specific, detailed content with effective and feasible provisions and guarantees.

According to him, such topical issues as occupational safety and health, effective communications, a new impetus to social partnership and public control also require joint consideration.

“The Federation of Trade Unions has declared 2023 the Year of Safe Work, under the auspices of which an appropriate action plan will be adopted. In this regard, I would like to urge social partners to promote the inclusion in regional agreements of specific provisions on the exercise of the legitimate right of trade unions to freely visit workplaces for meetings with labor collectives and conduct public monitoring of compliance with labor legislation,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin.

In order to build effective communications, the Chairman of the FPRC invited social partners to widely support the action “Labor Consultations” initiated by the Federation of Trade Unions.

“This initiative, launched last year, has shown its effectiveness. Based on this, we propose to hold a republican campaign “Labor Consultations” under the auspices of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population. The main purpose of joint consultations is to prevent social and labor conflicts, achieve compromises and mutual understanding of the main subjects of social and labor relations, and coordinate their actions,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin.

The institute of technical inspectors also requires further improvement. Today, about 12 thousand production councils operate at enterprises and organizations, in which more than 17 thousand technical labor protection inspectors monitor and supervise safe working conditions.

“We call on the parties of the social partnership to provide maximum assistance in creating and strengthening the effectiveness of production councils at enterprises and organizations, as well as active support for the activities of technical inspectors – first assistants in matters of trouble–free work and ensuring safe working conditions,” the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions stressed.

He focused special attention on the issue of remuneration of workers employed in difficult, harmful and dangerous conditions. We are talking about the presence of haphazardness in the organization of remuneration, the absence of a single procedure and principles for establishing surcharges and allowances.

“We propose to include in the competence of the Government the approval of methods for calculating increasing industry coefficients, classifying working conditions according to the degree of harmfulness and danger. It is obvious that the solution to the problems lies not only in making changes to the legislation, but first of all – the unconditional and full–fledged implementation of the current order,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin.

The Chairman of the FPRC also voiced the position of trade unions in the field of collective labor dispute resolution.

“We firmly stand on the position that it is necessary to radically simplify the procedures for resolving collective labor disputes. It is necessary to give the right to trade unions to demand a strike, and this shows that we are ready today to take responsibility and act in the legal field. As urgent measures today, we propose: improving the competence of judges on labor relations, the creation of labor dispute panels in higher courts; providing state support to trade unions at all levels in terms of strengthening public control mechanisms, expanding the powers and number of the state labor inspectorate,” the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions listed.

Among the most important priorities of the social partnership, Satybaldy Dauletalin noted the need to provide employees with opportunities to participate in production management.

“The benefit of the idea lies not only in the development of incentives for productive work, but also in the awareness of employees as equal members of society, whose opinion is taken into account not only by the employer, but also by the state as a whole. These measures will speed up the processes of economic reform and ease social tensions,” the Head of the Federation believes.

Concluding his speech, Satybaldy Dauletalin expressed his readiness to interact with all like-minded people and social partners.

“I am sure that by joint actions aimed at ensuring decent, safe work for employees, we will be able to form a new social contract,” the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan summed up.

The representative of the authorized state body – First Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population Akmadi Sarbasov in his speech noted that the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a reliable social partner of the department.

Speaking about the initiatives of the Federation of Trade Unions in topical areas of the social and labor sphere, he stressed their progressive nature and assured that the authorized body as a whole is ready to discuss measures to implement the voiced proposals.

“All the issues identified by the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions are quite relevant. We see the activity of our social partner every day. The key task of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan is to increase the security and welfare of working citizens. We are ready to rethink the current state of the social partnership and start the discussion format,” Akmadi Sarbasov stressed.

Gocha Alexandria, Senior Specialist in Workers’ activities at the regional office of the International Labor Organization of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, highlighted the special role of the Federation of Trade Unions in raising the level of social and labor relations in Kazakhstan.

“The ILO welcomes the strengthening of the role of trade unions in Kazakhstan in the system of social partnership, their authority is growing. Further progress needs to be made, but decisive action by all parties is required. It is necessary to revive the social contract, which provides workers with a fair share of economic progress, respect for their rights, and protection from risks in exchange for their further contribution to the development of the economy. Social dialogue can and should play a key role in maintaining the relevance of this agreement for the purposes of managing the changes taking place with the full participation of all actors in the sphere of work,” says Gocha Alexandria.

Another international expert, Anton Leppik, Executive Secretary of the WERS of the International Trade Union Confederation, also agrees with him. He presented the agenda and priorities of the international trade union movement for the implementation of the New Social Contract to the forum participants.

“The request for social justice is extremely relevant all over the world. That is why a New social contract was adopted at the Congress of the ITUC. Its implementation will make it possible to try to solve the issues of informal labor relations, maintaining a balance of interests between employees and employers with mandatory interaction with the governments of the countries. The trade unions of Kazakhstan were among the first to start discussing the basics of a New social contract,” Anton Leppik said.

Igor Zubcu, Chairman of the National Confederation of Trade Unions of Moldova, shared his experience in the development of social partnership in Moldova with the Forum participants.

“Social partners should raise one thing – the market economy should be transformed into a social one. Trust in social partners depends on their adequate response to solving problems in the labor sphere. This is the understanding of the situation among the trade union leaders of Moldova,” Igor Zubku shared.

Director General of the National Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan “PARYZ” Aidos Abikhanov presented his vision of the problems of interaction and cooperation of social partners.

“We propose to create a single advisory body with the participation of all parties to the social partnership and join forces to solve problems in the labor sphere,” the head of the employers’ association said.

The scientific assessment of the state of social partnership in Kazakhstan was voiced by Muslim Khasenov, Ph.D., Associate Professor of M.S. Narikbayev KAZGUU University, member of the Expert Council of the FPRC.

The expert noted the special function of the state in ensuring the balance of interests of the employee and the employer. However, according to him, there is state interference in intra-union activities and significant restrictions on the independence and freedoms of trade unions at the legislative level.

“The establishment by the Law “On Trade Unions” of an exhaustive list of types of trade unions is a violation of the right to freedom of association. The legislation regulates in detail the types and forms of trade union activity, thereby limiting the constitutional right to freedom of association of citizens. To solve the existing problems, it is necessary to objectively reform the legislative framework of social partnership,” Muslim Khasenov believes.

The experience of a socially-oriented employer was outlined by Murat Dosmuratov, General Director of Atyrau Oil Refinery LLP.

“According to the results of 2022, there were no facts of industrial injuries among the employees of the plant and contractors at Atyrau Refinery LLP, all targets for BiOT were fulfilled. This is a common achievement of the entire plant team and work together with the trade union in this direction will continue,” the head of ANPZ LLP assured.

Dinara Kozhakanova, chairman of the trade union organization of the East Kazakhstan Regional Drama Theater, told about the practice of labor consultations with the employer.

According to her, the constructive negotiation process allowed social partners to adopt the best collective agreement in the industry.

The participants of the Social Partners Forum adopted a Resolution in which they indicated that society needs new concepts for building relationships between employees, employers and the state, as well as an optimal revision of the principles of equitable income distribution.

The Forum participants stated the need for qualitative improvement of the work of social partnership bodies at all levels and called for the Year of Safe Work to focus common efforts on creating safe and decent working conditions.

Within the framework of the Forum, the results of the republican review-competition “The Best collective agreement of 2022” were summed up.

The primary trade union organizations of the member organizations of the Federation of Trade Unions took part in the review competition. Based on the results of consideration of applications, 10 winners were determined by the competition commissions of industry trade unions: LLP “Mining enterprise “ORTALYK” (g. Shymkent), KSU “Petropavlovsk Children’s Social Service Center of the Akimat of the North Kazakhstan region” of the Department for the Coordination of Employment and Social Programs of the Akimat of the North Kazakhstan region, GKP “Astana su Arnasy”, LLP “Atyrau Oil Refinery”, KSU “Department of Education of the Talas district of the Department of Education of the Akimat of Zhambyl region”, GKP na PHV”Multidisciplinary Regional Hospital” under the Health Department of Akmola region, TRANSREMVAGON LLP, Rudny, Kostanay region, KGKP “East Kazakhstan Regional Drama Theater” of the Department of Culture of the East Kazakhstan region, Production Cooperative “Lugansk”, Pavlodar region, LLP “Ekibastuz GRES-1 named after Bulat Nurzhanov”.

The heads of enterprises were awarded the medal of the Federation of Trade Unions “Uzdik aleumettik aryptes” (The best social partner), and the chairmen of primary trade union organizations were awarded the medal of the FPRK “Enbek Ozaty” (The Leader of Labor).