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STATEMENT BY THE FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS OF RUSSIA. LESSONS FROM KAZAKHSTAN

10.01.2022
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STATEMENT BY THE FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS OF RUSSIA

LESSONS FROM KAZAKHSTAN

 

The causes of the tragic events in Kazakhstan make it necessary to take a closer look at the social and economic problems common to many post-Soviet countries.

Is it that price rises, tax hikes, illegal fees and the exposure of people and businesses to arbitrary justice are common to Kazakhstan only?

The conclusions are simple:

-       if social inequalities and poverty are not addressed properly;

-       if it is assumed that the market will solve all the problems itself while leaving the state to play the role of a "night watchman";

-       if transferring businesses in key sectors of the economy to foreign ownership and providing them de facto extraterritoriality with regard to labour legislation;

-       if, for a long time, trade union rights are deliberately restricted through pseudo-legal trickery;

-       if meaningful dialogue with workers represented by their trade unions is avoided and military force is resorted to (e.g. Zhanaozen shootings in 2011), rather than social partnership;

-       if ministry officials are "parachuted" into senior positions in trade unions;

then we may face a situation that can be exploited by external or internal forces in the struggle for power, for destabilisation or even possible disintegration of the State.

It shouldn’t be like this! This cannot be allowed to happen!

We do not want to see offices and shops looted and ordinary people killed in Russia like we just saw happening in Kazakhstan. But to counter this, words are not enough.

The State should make a more radical change in its attitude towards improving the income of workers and retirees, including the indexation of pensions of working pensioners.

There is a need for a meaningful dialogue between the government, business and trade unions, which today is often a formality.

It is necessary to empower trade unions and secure guarantees for the exercise of their duties as the entity representing organised workers in all spheres of life.

The FNPR expresses its deep sympathy and joins with the fraternal people of Kazakhstan in mourning the victims of the riots.

We support the statements of Kazakh trade unions in their assessment of the recent events.

At the same time, we in Russia should draw important and unprejudiced conclusions for ourselves.

Labour demands dignity for workers, rights for the unions and strength for the country!

 

January 10, 2022