In the current Address to the People of Kazakhstan “The Economic Course of a Just Kazakhstan”, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that the political transformations initiated should become the basis for reforms in the socio-economic life of the country and proposed a number of specific measures directly related to improving the welfare of our citizens.
Difficulties do not exist in order to “tighten our belts”, but give us an opportunity to mobilize and work on finding points of development, which the Head of State clearly outlined in his Message.
The implementation of the new economic policy announced by the President of Kazakhstan should be a response to many modern challenges of the labor market. In turn, the dynamic development of the economy will positively affect the creation of decent living and working conditions for our compatriots.
It is impossible to imagine economic growth without the labor of millions of our compatriots, so the problems of the social and labor sphere should be solved in proportion to the economic indicators of the country.
The tasks set by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for the development of many leading industries, agricultural and financial sectors, the education system, infrastructure life support projects will certainly have a positive impact on the development of the labor market and the socio-economic well-being of workers in these areas.
Justice, inclusiveness, pragmatism, outlined by the Head of State principles of the new economic course of the country are in tune with the priorities of the trade union community.
An important aspect for the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as the most massive public organization in the country, defending the interests of two million of its members – employees of enterprises and organizations, is the issue of raising the minimum wage to 85 thousand tenge from January 1, 2024. The Federation of Trade Unions supports this initiative, which opens up an opportunity to increase the level of economic viability of citizens. An increase in the minimum wage in a favorable situation will create an opportunity to increase the overall level of wages, as well as to bring hidden wages out of the shadows.
Being a defender of the interests of workers, the Federation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan fully supports the initiatives of the Head of State to solve urgent problems in the field of occupational injuries with the adoption of the Concept of Safe Work until 2030. FTURK representatives are directly involved in the development of a Concept aimed at moving from a cost-based to a risk-based model of occupational safety and health.
Despite the fact that the dynamics of occupational injuries over the past five years shows a certain decrease, in general, the situation in this area remains unfavorable. Every year we lose about 200 people in production and more than 1,000 injured.
The so-called compensation model of occupational safety management that has been formed over the past years is based on the reaction of accidents that have already occurred, based on the results of the investigation. However, now the potential of this system is almost exhausted, in the face of the challenges of the digital economy, it does not work. We need to create a model that will react quickly and act in changing conditions. From this point of view, the new Concept of Occupational Safety corresponds to a risk-oriented approach.
The trade union community cannot but rejoice at the fact that the issues of social support for workers employed in harmful and dangerous working conditions are gradually being resolved. The position of the trade unions has always been clear – the question was about lowering the retirement age for workers employed in harmful working conditions.
The measures announced by the Head of State to introduce a special social payment from the age of 55 until reaching retirement age for this category of workers are only the first positive step aimed at solving this issue.
Trade unions have repeatedly stated that the issue of lowering the retirement age should be addressed comprehensively, coupled with the necessary social support. Today, the first step was clearly outlined by the President in his Message to the people.
An equally important problem of our society, voiced by the Head of State, is the personnel shortage, especially in technical and working specialties.
The Federation of Trade Unions supports the tasks set by the President to transform the educational system taking into account the needs of the labor market, since the country’s human resources potential is the most important driver of the growth of the economy of the future.
The main task of vocational education today is its adaptation to modern realities, taking into account today’s requirements in each specific industry.
Today, from the mouth of the Head of State, we heard support for another trade union initiative – on the regulation of platform employment and the development of effective mechanisms for protecting the labor rights of platform workers.
As the Head of State stressed, today more than half a million people work in this sector, but their labor rights are still poorly protected.
In 2021, the Federation of Trade Unions together with international experts conducted a study of the legal and practical environment of social and labor relations in sectors dominated by non-standard forms of employment, including digital and Internet platforms, self-employment and informal employment. We have developed recommendations to promote the formalization of employment and the creation of decent working conditions for workers in this sector and passed on our vision to social partners in the Government of the country.
The message of the Head of State to the people of Kazakhstan is imbued with the idea that the state and society need to act together today. Trade union members intend and are ready to unite with their compatriots to build a prosperous society and a just state, and in this process not only the authorities, but also all citizens of the country should take responsibility for themselves.
The achievement of the main goal depends on the responsibility of each of us – to live and work, grow and develop in a fair Kazakhstan.