Today, on May 19, the III meeting of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries was held in Astana under the leadership of the Secretary General of SPECA – Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The subregional forum was attended by profilders of the national trade union centers of the SPECA member states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as delegations of trade unions of Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The meeting began with a solemn ceremony of presenting the SPECA flag to the members of the Council, the main symbol of the independence and identity of the organization.
The flag means the social community of trade unions in Central Asian countries. The flag symbolizes the noble ideals of solidarity and justice, the unity of our trade unions.
In a solemn atmosphere, Secretary General of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries, Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin handed over the flag of the organization to the heads of national trade union centers of SPECA.
Opening the third meeting, Satybaldy Dauletalin noted the role of the Council in strengthening regional cooperation in key areas of activity of trade unions in the region.
“Over the period since the establishment of the Council, its participants have held a number of joint activities aimed at further integration of national trade union centers. On October 6, 2022, the Almaty Declaration was signed between the members of SPECA and the International Labour Organization to promote the path to social justice in Central Asian countries. SPECA receives all possible support from our ILO partners. Our common task is to strengthen the role of the Council and expand our common capabilities to ensure decent work and social justice for 15 million workers in our region. Restoring social justice is the main challenge facing our trade unions today,” Satybaldy Dauletalin emphasized.
According to him, the most important condition for the development of the labor sphere is the formation of a New Social Contract focused on the Man of Labor.
“It’s time to change the current social contract. At this stage, inequality in income distribution and poverty are one of the main obstacles to the socio-economic development of the region. In order to implement, the Plan of Main Activities of the Council was developed and approved for 2023. The Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan has developed a symbol of the organization. The website of the Council ctuca.org was created and launched. These days, the II international mini-football tournament among trade unions of Central Asian countries is being held. Let’s wish them good luck!” said the Secretary General of SPECA.
The participants of the meeting were welcomed by the Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan Malikshaw Nematzoda.
“Within the framework of the Council, we are expanding the consideration of common issues for the workers of our region. The role of SPECA is strengthened day by day and it is symbolic that today we have been given the flag of our organization, since the flag is the symbol followed by people,” Maliksho Nematzoda.
Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Emil Kyzayev also noted the increasing role of the subregional organization in his welcoming speech.
“The work of SPECA is gaining momentum. There are enough problems in the Central Asian Regoine that we must solve together. It is more difficult for us to promote the interests of workers alone, but by uniting we will be able to effectively influence decision-making for the benefit of the region’s employees,” said Emil Kyzayev.
In turn, Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Mahmadaliyev proposed to establish a nomination “For the Protection of Youth Rights” within the Council and start developing a single program “Tourist Silk Road of Central Asia”.
Among the invited guests of honor is the President of the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions Turk-Ish Yergun Atalay, who visited the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan for the first time in the history of bilateral relations.
Welcoming the participants, he thanked the brotherly Kazakh people for their hospitality and noted the importance for Turkish trade unions to develop cooperation with the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries.
Deputy Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan Javanshir Alkhasov believes that SPCA is an example for other regions.
“The Confederation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan is ready to develop cooperation with the Council to promote common goals to protect the rights and interests of workers,” said Javanshir Alkhasov.
The first topic of discussion was the youth policy of Central Asian trade unions.
Chairman of the Youth Council of FPRK “Keleshek” Ayan Salimgereev listed the main trends in the trade union youth policy of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan: concentration on social and economic problems of young people; involvement of young people in the trade union ranks; volunteering; working with the informal sector; increasing involvement in socio-political processes and in climate change and equitable energy transition.
“At the moment, the number of trade union youth under 35 years of age is 401,729 people, which is 25.1% of the total membership of the FPRK. There are a number of programs proposed by the FPRK aimed at supporting young people, such as: Rental housing for working youth, Youth practice, Project “With a diploma – to the village!”, – said the chairman of the youth link.
As an intensification of effective interaction between young trade union members of the SPECA member countries, Ayan Salimgereev proposed to create a youth structure within the framework of the Council – the SPECA Youth Council.
Umid Zakirlaev, Head of the Department for Youth Affairs, Advisor to the Chairman on Youth Affairs of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan, spoke about the youth policy of the trade union center of Uzbekistan.
“The number of young people under the age of 30 is more than 19 million, which is 55% of the total population. Of the 5.7 million trade union members, more than 2 million are young people. In order to solve the problem of the “first employment contract” in the field of youth employment, trade unions supported the expansion of subsidized employment, at the legislative level limited the duration of practice or internships of young workers, and prohibited unpaid internships. A scholarship of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan has been approved to support talented students,” Umid Zakirlaev shared.
Initiatives of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan in the field of youth policy were presented at the forum by Assistant Chairman of the FNPT Karomatullo Davlatov.
According to him, of the millionth collective of trade unions of Tajikistan, young people under 35 years of age make up more than 200 thousand members.
Among the main priorities in supporting young people, the representative of Tajik trade unions named the issues of decent education, employment and economic independence, and international cooperation of youth trade union councils.
“I would like to hope that within the framework of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries we will find our friends, colleagues and like-minded people within the framework of the Memoranda already adopted, one of the priorities will be the development of the international youth movement,” said Karomatullo Davlatov.
The experience of trade union support for young people in Kyrgyzstan was presented by the Chairman of the Youth Council of the Central Committee of the Mining and Metallurgical Trade Union of the Kyrgyz Republic Mukhamet uulu Bekzhan.
According to him, the labor legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic contains norms regulating the labor activity of young workers: vocational training, dual training, student contract, young specialist, etc.
“There is a practice of creating youth councils of trade unions, which initiate the introduction of sections on youth policy into collective agreements, providing for additional social guarantees for young trade union members,” said Mukhamet uulu Bekzhan.
The position of the Youth Committee of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Mongolia was presented by Dairiyasuren Byambaa, Deputy Director of the Central Palace of Culture at the Confederation of Mongolian Trade Unions.
“The population of Mongolia is 3.4 million people, of which young people under the age of 35 occupy 62.8%. The Youth Council of Trade Unions unites young trade union members under the slogan “For decent work” and fights for social justice, for an environmental workplace, for an environment without carbon,” said Dairiyasuren Byambaa.
Following the consideration of the first issue, SPECA Secretary General Satybaldy Dauletalin urged colleagues to move away from traditional trade union approaches to solving youth problems.
“Today, it is important for trade unions of our countries to determine the foundations of modern youth policy and recommend specific messages to the governments of our countries: social support for young people, youth employment, decent working conditions and decent wages for young workers. We intend to promote these issues within the framework of the SPECA Youth Council,” Satybaldy Dauletalin summed up.
The participants of the meeting unanimously supported Kazakhstan’s initiative and decided to establish the SPECA Youth Council.
The next item of the meeting was the consideration of the priorities of the Council’s unified communication strategy and the launch of a single information platform – the CTUCA.ORG website, which was presented by Deputy Chairman of the FPRC Nurlan Uteshev. The site is designed to exchange information, experience and coordinate the actions of all national trade union centers in Central Asian countries.
“The proposed approaches, in our opinion, will help to create a unified communication strategy that will work effectively within the region. An effective communication strategy is an important factor in the success of trade unions in protecting the rights of workers and improving their working conditions,” Nurlan Uteshev stressed.
Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Mongolia Erdenebat Sukhbaatar supported the formation of a unified communication strategy, which, in his opinion, in the future will allow national trade union centers to exchange views and meet to develop common approaches to solving topical issues.
“The organization’s website will allow to implement the initiative to digitalize preferential programs for the rehabilitation of employees of SPECA members,” said Erdenebat Sukhbaatar.
Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Mahmadaliyev also expressed support for the initiative.
“The Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan fully supports the formation of a unified communication strategy and proposes to create a working group for the development of our information platform,” Bakhtiyor Mahmadaliyev said.
Chairman of the Committee of the Trade Union of Education and Science of Tajikistan Zulkhiya Nozakzoda believes that the creation of the Council is a huge achievement for trade unions of the Central Asian region in promoting initiatives in the international trade union community.
“Tajikistan supports the creation of a unified communication strategy and proposes to develop a research component. Analysis of common problems will help to effectively influence the solution of the common agenda and topical problems in the labor sphere. A single communication platform is raising awareness about the activities of national trade union centers and promoting the Council in the international arena,” said Zulkhiya Nozakzoda.
Chairman of the Republican Committee of the Trade Union of Communications Workers of Kyrgyzstan Kalybek Omuraliyev supported the idea of harmonizing information policies of affiliates of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries and spoke about the active work of trade unions in the information field.
Summarizing the consideration of the second issue on the agenda, the Secretary General of SPECA – Chairman of the FPRC Satybaldy Dauletalin proposed to develop multimedia exchange of information.
“Trade unions should essentially be a human-oriented institution. The priorit goal of the unified communication platform is to raise awareness of the target audience about the activities of national trade union centers and the Council as a whole,” he stressed.
The members of the Council decided to develop a document on the formation of a unified communication strategy of SPECA and a plan for its implementation for the long term and agreed to work together on the content of the unified information platform – the website CTUCA.ORG.
The participants of the III meeting also considered the prospects for the development of tourism at the regional level.
Chairman of the Board of JSC “NC “Kazakh Tourism” Talgat Amanbayev proposed to develop new tourist concepts in the format of international conferences, joint exhibitions to SPECA members.
Speaking about the possibilities of the tourism industry in Kazakhstan, he noted that digitalization is actively being introduced into the tourism sector.
“Kazakhstan has implemented an e-qonaq system, which allows foreign tourists to register online. We invite members of the Council to cooperate in the development of tourist corporate programs, the provision of preferential family tour packages for employees of various industries,” Talgat Amanbayev addressed the participants of the meeting.
The topic was continued by Deputy Chairman of the FPRK Kairat Aibosynov.
According to him, all 8 trade union health resorts are in great demand among Kazakhstanis, as their work focuses on health improvement.
“The creation of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian countries has opened up even greater opportunities for all of us for the development of medical and health tourism. To this end, I believe that we should begin to cooperate in organizing joint events for the exchange of experience among health resort employees, advanced training, develop transfer programs, that is, programs for the exchange of vacationers in our health resorts,” said the Deputy Chairman of the FPRK.
To this end, he proposed the creation of an international consortium with the participation of authorized organizations of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries.
Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Tajikistan Malikshaw Nematzoda supported the initiatives of his Kazakh counterpart to expand the geography of tourist routes and develop medical tourism.
“Trade unions have great potential to expand opportunities to address the health improvement of employees in the region. In accordance with the agreements between the trade unions of the countries of the region, we are ready to assist in the exchange of trade union tourists for treatment and recreation in medical and recreational complexes, sanatoriums and other health facilities of the countries of the region,” Maliksho Nematzoda assured.
Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan Emil Kyzayev, in turn, speaking about the tourist attractiveness of his country, noted that the Federation of Trade Unions of Kyrgyzstan has begun to implement plans to develop and popularize its trade union health resorts.
“Trade union health resorts with unique natural healing factors are ready to accept colleagues for sanatorium treatment of everyone,” Emil Kyzayev emphasized.
Chairman of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Mongolia Erdenebat Sukhbaatar expressed the opinion that the development of joint tourism activities will allow Mongolia to become more attractive to visit.
“The SPECA’s one tourist opportunities base will guide residents of our countries in planning their holidays and health improvement in the Central Asian region. Trade unions could influence the expansion of direct flights between our countries, for example, I intend to recommend to the Ministry of Transport of Mongolia, upon arrival home, to solve interstate transport issues of interaction. By the way, the national team of football players of Mongolian trade unions reached Astana by road to study the ground routes from Mongolia to Kazakhstan. The joint tourism policy will allow to show trade union members to get to know each other better,” said the Mongolian trade union leader.
Director of DP “Kasaba-Sair” of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan Tulkun Khidirov told about the development of trade union tourism in his country.
According to him, the number of tourists attracted by trade unions is steadily growing from year to year.
“If in 2018 245,829 tourists were attracted to the country, in 2022 – 306,546 people, this year it is planned to attract about 400,000 people. In the light of the development of tourism, the network of sanatoriums of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan is expanding – in 2017 there were 17 sanatoriums, today – 31. Last year, 168,068 people underwent recovery in trade union health resorts, of which 4,949 were foreign citizens, including 2,667 Kazakhstanis,” Tulkun Khidirov said.
The parties sealed all agreements with a Memorandum of cooperation in the field of tourism within the framework of SPECA.
According to the document, the Concept for the Development of International and Domestic Tourism in Central Asian Countries will be developed.
It is planned to implement joint programs to develop new effective forms of sanatorium treatment and health improvement, as well as to ensure access to these services for trade union members of all SPECA member countries.
At the end of the meeting, SPECA participants supported the initiative to hold a review competition “Best Collective Agreement” among trade union organizations of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries.
It is expected that the results of the competition will be summarized by the members of the Council in September this year at the IV meeting of the SPECA.
Summing up the subregional forum, Secretary General of the Council of Trade Unions of Central Asian Countries – Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin noted the special importance of the meeting, during which a meaningful exchange of views took place and called on the parties to effectively implement the planned initiatives.
“We have identified the main urgent tasks for the near future – to protect the rights and interests of workers, to implement modern trends in trade union youth policy in the countries of Central Asia, to form a unified communication strategy, to develop tourism, international and regional cooperation between trade unions in Central Asian countries,” Satybaldy Dauletalin summed up.
Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan