While on a working visit to Aktobe region, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, Satybaldy Dauletalin, met with the workforce of the enterprise, Prigorodny Agricultural Firm LLP, arriving at the sowing area.
Stepan Gaidar, director of the Prigorodny farming enterprise, and its employees spend all daylight hours in the fields, sowing potatoes. According to the director, the enterprise employs 56 people; the primary trade union organization was established in 2000. During the seasons, an additional 15-20 workers are hired for seed planting and harvesting.
The company is the main supplier of vegetables to the Aktobe Oblast Stabilisation Fund and is the largest farm in the region with its own vegetable storage capacity of up to 8,000 tonnes. For the period 2023-2024 the company has committed to supply 200 tonnes of onions, 200 tonnes of carrots and 700 tonnes of potatoes to the Stabilisation Fund.
However, according to Stepan Gaidar, not everything is going so smoothly with the sale of vegetables grown.
“It is not profitable for the region’s big retail chains to fulfil their obligations, because when they buy produce from our company, they can make a markup of 5 per cent. It is more profitable for them to buy from third-party suppliers and earn a 15 per cent mark-up. For this reason, 400 tonnes of carrots had to be disposed of,” said the director of an agricultural firm. Subsidies and loans are also not yet available to the company due to bureaucratic delays.
“I have written a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade, but so far there has been no reply. Maybe you can help us, it’s easier for you in Astana to meet ministers,” Stepan Gaidar, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, asked for help.
The head of the FTUC, Satybaldy Dauletalin, noted that the Federation would discuss with the social partners and try to assist in resolving the issue. Continuing the conversation, the Chairman of the FTUC spoke about the pilot project “Trade Union Trading Network” launched in the Karaganda region.
The aim of the project is to deliver food and basic necessities directly from producers to consumers without any intermediaries, bypassing the chain of intermediaries.
“To give just one example: a kilo of potatoes in the trade union trading network in Karaganda region costs 55 tenge, the price in the market is 190 tenge. ‘Fair price’ is the essence of our pilot project. There are plans to expand the coverage of the trade union trading network to other regions of Kazakhstan. As for Aktobe region, I invite your company to participate in the project”, said Satybaldy Dauletalin.
Meanwhile, due to problems with sales, the Prigorodny Agricultural Firm LLP is behind on wages and workers have yet to receive their April salaries.
“There are overdue loans to banks. I am not in the mood, I think I have a job, but I feel unemployed,” said employee Sergei Golubetsky, who has worked in the industry continuously for almost 43 years.
To give moral support to the veteran vegetable grower, the Chairman of the FPPC said that the Federation would help Sergei Golubetsky with loan repayments.
“Trade unions stand up for the rights of workers in different sectors everywhere on a daily basis. And in difficult life situations, we must support our colleagues. The man of labour is the main value of our society,” said Satybaldy Dauletalin as he bid farewell to the vegetable growers.
Media Center of the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan