Discussing new labour legislation in Kazakhstan

On 10 July 2015 the government of Kazakhstan presented the draft labour code to unions. This draft significantly reduced guarantees of workers and was broadly criticized by unions for favouring employers’ interests, worsening the position of workers, creating condition for tensions and conflicts. The Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (FPRK) established trade union working group and organized a set of different consultations on various levels of trade union movement.

Within two months, more than 200 proposals and additions from affiliates of Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan were received from union structures. On that basis the FPRK developed and submitted to the government request for numerous amendments. After numerous negotiations with the developer the initial draft was significantly changed, and 117 amendments proposed by Federation of Trade Unions were adopted.

In particular, these amendments are related to the issues of labour relations, labour contract, labour discipline, working hours, rest periods, wages, guarantees and compensation payments, settlement of labour disputes, regulation of work of certain categories of employees, social partnership, health and safety. The rights of workers and employer’s obligations in the field of health and safety are specified. The role of republican, sectoral and regional agreements was strengthened. The wage regulation through tariff rate system was streamlined with a special important role for sectoral and collective agreements. In spite of strong resistance from the developer it was possible to maintain provisions for public control by workers’ representatives over implementation of the labour legislation.

On 3 September the amended draft was presented to the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan and representatives of the Federation of Trade Unions were invited to contribute to the parliamentary working group.

On 10 September the Federation of Trade Unions of Kazakhstan organized a round table with the participation of deputies of the Mazhilis, Vice-Minister of Health and Social Development, representatives of the ITUC (Makbule Sahan), ILO (Victor Hugo Ricco), the GTUC (Nadezhda Zanko), sectoral unions. During the round table representatives of the ITUC and the ILO presented international and national practices of labour legislation, comments of the ILO on the initial draft Labour Code, representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Development gave explanations on certain provisions of the draft.

It is expected that the draft bill will be processed in the Parliament this autumn.