Almost during every work trip to the regions, Chairman of Trade Unions Federation of Kazakhstan Satybaldy Dauletalin finds time to meet with representatives of the public sector, which usually has many pressing issues to protect workers’ labor rights. As part of his working trip to Zhetysu region, the Chairman of the FTURK visited the regional library named after Saken Seyfullin in Taldykorgan. The meeting with Satybaldy Dauletalin was attended by librarians from the oblast’s districts, chairmen of primary trade union organisations and social partners in the field of culture.

According to Saule Ahmadieva, head of the regional branch of the branch trade union of culture, information and sports, there are 147 libraries in Zhetysu oblast, employing 399 people. One of the achievements in the activities of trade unions Saule Ahmadieva mentioned the establishment of professional holiday – Librarian Day, which is celebrated annually on October 24 since 2022.  Among the main problems of librarians are low wages, inaccessibility of preferential housing programmes, lack of qualified staff, and issues of professional certification.

“Librarians are assessed every three years. Librarians with 20-25 years of experience are assessed on an equal basis with young professionals. The content of the attestation tests is questionable, often there are questions completely unrelated to professional activities. We have long asked that those librarians with 20+ years of service be exempted from the certification process,” librarian Galiya Yeshenova said.

Asem Ishambayeva, a librarian, drew attention to the problem of medical care for librarians. Librarians have to undergo compulsory health checks annually at their own expense, she said, which puts a big strain on their pocketbooks. The average salary in the industry is 120-140 thousand tenge.

“The work of modern libraries is unimaginable without programmers, whose salaries barely reach 80 thousand tenge. That’s why libraries have a constant turnover of support staff”, said Samal Shayakhmetova, director of the regional library.

During the discussion of accumulated problems in the industry, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of the RK Satybaldy Dauletalin said that thanks to the deputy group “Enbek” the issue of free medical examination for librarians has been considered and will be approved at the next session of maslikhat in favor of librarians.

“We are keeping the problem of raising wages for workers in your sector under constant review. Trade unions insist on abolishing salaries for public sector workers on the basis of a basic wage – the Basic Wage Rate (BWR). Thanks to cooperation with the social partners, there is progress in this matter, at least the social partners in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the relevant department assure us that they are making the appropriate calculations. We also understand that the personnel issue has a direct bearing on wages. These issues are indivisible and require systemic solutions, we have already submitted to the government a package of proposals for improvement of the relevant legislation,” said the head of the FTURK.

The role of trade unions in the development of social partnership in the sector was noted by Zhanar Talkhanova, head of the monitoring department of the regional department of culture.

“We have been working together with the regional trade union to solve the problems of culture and art workers for a long time. Four years ago, thanks to the support of trade unions and the maslikhat, the issue of compensation for archive workers was resolved. At present, the department is ready to consider the issue of providing librarians with housing at the request of primary trade union organizations,” said a representative of the regional department of culture.

Continuing the theme of joint work with social partners to protect the interests of workers of enterprises and organizations of the sector, Satybaldy Dauletalin shared the position of trade unions in determining the status of the Man of Labour in modern Kazakh society.

“The social partners, setting themselves the goal of building a Just Kazakhstan, should begin with the main thing – raising the status of the Man of Labour, the revival of the ideology of labour. For trade unions, Fair Kazakhstan means restoration of social justice for the Man of Labor, fair treatment of labor, fair labor relations, fair wages. Librarians are the people of labour, on whom the spiritual development of a nation depends,” stressed the Chairman of the FTURK.