In Astana, a meeting of the General Council of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, headed by Trade Union Federation Chairman Satybaldy Dauletalin, summed up the results of trade union activity in the first half of the year and set new tasks for the coming period.

Members of the General Council reviewed the implementation of the FTUC’s strategy “In Unity for Justice and Development”, discussed intervention in trade union activities, as well as steps to prevent and resolve labour conflicts.

Speaking on the implementation of the Strategy, Aigul Mukasheva, President of the Trade Union of Education, Science and Higher Education Workers, said that trade unions in this sector unite 567,817 workers today. According to her, as a result of ongoing work, the number of trade union members increased by 5,878 people compared with 2021.

“This indicator shows the confidence of workers in the trade union, the interest of young employees”, Aigul Mukasheva stressed.

In 2022, 1,351,260,820 tenge was allocated for the organization of summer recreation and health improvement for trade union members and their children. Medical assistance was provided to 29,999 employees and 6,284 children. The sum of material and charitable assistance to members of trade union made up 675 760 000 tenge.

Meanwhile, talking about problematic issues, Aigul Mukasheva told about facts of illegal intervention of government agencies to members of trade union in Ulytau region and Karaganda region.

The theme of interference in trade union activities was continued by Marat Mirgayazov, chairman of the sectoral trade union Kazugleprof, who reported facts of pressure and illegal dismissal of trade union leaders.

The position of the Federation of Trade Unions on the issue of interference in the activities of trade union organizations was outlined by Satybaldy Dauletalin, chairman of the FTURK.

Stressing that the Federation of Trade Unions and its affiliates support the course of building a fair Kazakhstan announced by the President of Kazakhstan, the FTURK Chairman called on his colleagues to unite their efforts to promote the principles of social justice.

“The Federation of Trade Unions receives such signals from some regions, industries and conducts explanatory work with the social partners. We intend to firmly oppose the violation of the law and pressure on trade unions and take measures to stop the violation of the law and punish the perpetrators. The undisguised interference in trade union activities, attempts to sneak candidates working in the executive branch into leadership positions, and the creation of controlled trade unions by employers are in direct violation of the RK law on trade unions and International Labour Organization Convention 87, which guarantees freedom of trade union activity in the country. For trade unions, the supremacy of the Constitution and laws is the main principle of democratic development, the basis of justice and social stability in society. We have followed and will continue to follow this course”, stressed Satybaldy Dauletalin.

In their reports on the implementation of the Strategy, however, affiliates’ leaders reported key results. For example, according to Aigul Mukasheva, chairwoman of the sectoral trade union of education, science and higher education workers, last year there were 2,358 inspections of employers’ compliance with labour legislation, which is 618 more than in the previous year. The inspections uncovered 4,509 violations of labour legislation related to non-payment of wages, inadequate registration of labour relations and failure to observe working hours and rest periods. Seventeen illegally dismissed workers were reinstated.

In turn, Marat Mirgayazov, chairman of the coal miners’ trade union Kazugleprof, said that one of the pressing issues of concern to employees of enterprises is the reduction of the retirement age and the amount of savings for a pension annuity contract taking into account the current level of wages.

“Together with the Federation of Trade Unions, we will purposefully continue this work, focusing on addressing the issues of early retirement of miners,” Marat Mirgayazov assured.

At the same time, he cited as one of the problematic issues the incomplete implementation of the requirements of the tripartite agreement due to the absence of a third party – the employers’ representatives.

The Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, Satybaldy Dauletalin, confirmed this problem not only at the regional level, but also at the national level.

At the same time, he noted that in order to develop equal tripartite cooperation today the Federation provides possible support to National Confederation of Employers “PARYZ”, including in matters of its staffing.

“We have raised the issue of forming a full-fledged employers’ side at the Republican Tripartite Commission and in the Government. Notwithstanding this, trade unions should contribute to the development and strengthening of the social partnership mechanism,” urged Satybaldy Dauletalin.

Despite the inertia of the employers’ association, the Federation of Trade Unions continues to work to reduce the level of conflict in the workforce.

As highlighted by the chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, Kazakh law establishes a complex and time-consuming procedure for resolving labour disputes and preparing for a lawful strike and recent changes in labour law do not fully address the existing problems.

According to the Federation of Trade Unions, in 2.5 years there were 272 collective disputes in the country due to specific systemic problems in the area of wages – low wages; imbalance in the wage system; lack of wage indexation; non-compliance with safety and labour protection requirements; failure of employers to fulfil collective agreement conditions.

The FTURK Chairman identified Mangistau, Atyrau, Aktobe and Karaganda regions as the most conflict-prone. At the same time, a large proportion was noted in the oil and gas, construction and energy industries.

“Of the 272 collective disputes, half took place in labour collectives where there are no trade unions. But the FTURK and its affiliates took part in the resolution of 259 labour disputes. That’s 95.2% of all disputes. Moreover, the role of employers is very important here. Without them, the situation cannot be resolved. At the same time, employers are opting for unorganized workers, given that it is much harder to communicate with the union and manipulate it in their interests. In this situation, our extensive work in the field to prevent labour conflicts is important,” stressed Satybaldy Dauletalin.

Meantime, since 2021, trade unions have initiated 218 issues related to prevention and resolution of labour conflicts in regional tripartite commissions and have carried out targeted work to raise the legal awareness of workers.

Since 2021, the Federation of Trade Unions and territorial associations have held 944 training seminars attended by 36,226 trade union members and 207 labour consultations.

In addition, the Federation of Trade Unions has repeatedly approached the Government with initiatives to hold a “labour consultation” campaign; to organize joint training for employers and employees on social and labour conflicts; to improve the wage system; and to strengthen the institution of State control of labour relations.

Addressing his colleagues, the FTURK chairman noted that while the right to strike is enshrined in law, trade unions insist above all on resolving conflict situations in enterprises through negotiation.

“The right to strike is an element of a democratic society. But we should also not forget that a strike is the most radical way of resolving labour disputes. It is necessary to increase the role of trade unions in the development of social responsibility and the establishment of a truly partnership between employer and employee at the enterprise level, “- said Satybaldy Dauletalin.

During the meeting, members of the General Council heard the report of the Asset Management Directorate for 2022, adopted the Zero Tolerance to Violence Concept of the FTURK, approved the results of the “People’s Budget” project and agreed on the candidacy of a new member of the General Council – Bakhtiyar Zhaksykeldinov, Chairman of the branch of the branch trade union “YNTYMAQ” in Almaty region.