Kazakhstan: Independent Union Under Threat of Suspension

(Berlin )– The Kazakhstan authorities’ attempt to have an independent profession union’s operations put on hold is a violation of workers’ essential rights to organize and also link, Human Rights Watch claimed today. On February 1, 2021, a Shymkent court is set up to resume consideration of the Shymkent City Management’s legal action against the Industrial Trade Union of Fuel as well as Power Workers (ITUFEW) declaring violations of Kazakhstan’s trade union regulation.

“This brazen attempt to have the activities of an independent profession union suspended is unjustified and must be stopped in its tracks,” stated Mihra Rittmann, elderly Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Less than a year ago Kazakhstan took necessary steps to amend its extremely limiting 2014 trade union legislation, and now the authorities are cracking down on yet one more independent profession union.”

The legal action submitted versus an independent industrial profession union standing for workers in Kazakhstan’s oil and also gas sector declares that the union broke enrollment arrangements in the trade union legislation. The claim contends that the union did not “present all the essential changes to its founding records,” neither “abided by the requirements in Article 13 components 2 and also 3 of the Trade Union Regulation.”

These insurance claims are dubious or based upon legal provisions that either no more exist or do not relate to ITUFEW, Civil rights Enjoy said.ITUFEW was signed up by Kazakhstan’s Justice Ministry in November 2015, after the Trade Union Law was taken on in 2014. The regulation called for existing profession unions to alter their charters under “Transitional Provisions “in art. 33. This stipulation does not use to trade unions that, like ITUFEW, were registered after the legislation entered right into pressure. The Shymkent City Management’s case that ITUFEW did not present changes to their beginning records thus has no basis, Human Rights Watch claimed. In addition, the claim refers to trade union regulation provisions that refer to the enrollment of territorial and also national-tier, or “republican “trade unions, which have no bearing on an industrial trade union’s lawful standing.While the 2014 trade union regulation previously included a provision mandating industrial profession unions to

associate with a national-tier trade union (arts. 13, component 3), amendments to the 2014 trade union regulation adopted in May 2020 made affiliation with a national-tier union optional.As such, there can be no infraction of art. 13, part 3 given that higher-tier affiliation is no longer compulsory in regulation, Civil rights Enjoy said.The lawsuit additionally asserts that the union broke art. 13, component 2, yet supplies no additional details to corroborate its claim.

Art. 13, component 2 requires that industrial trade unions”have structural neighborhoods and also (or)affiliated organizations in … majority of the variety of areas, cities of republican relevance, and the funding.”ITUFEW’s chair, Kuspan Kosshygulov, told Civils rights View that the profession union’s registered associates in 7 regions of Kazakhstan and also in the nation’s funding, Nur-Sultan, show up in Kazakhstan’s state computer system registry, fulfilling the needs of art. 13, part 2. Over the last few years, the Kazakh authorities have targeted independent trade unions and also profession union protestors with its repressive 2014 profession union law as well as went after politically determined

prosecutions. This has almost annihilated the independent trade union movement in Kazakhstan.After the federal government consistently refuted enrollment to the Confederation of Independent Profession Unions of Kazakhstan(KNPRK), a court got it enclosed January 2017. In the years since, the authorities have actually sought politically motivated prosecutions against KNPRK-affiliated profession union leaders, including Erlan Baltabay, the previous ITUFEW chair, in 2019. In May 2020, Kazakhstan lastly introduced modifications to its restrictive profession union legislation that make the enrollment procedure much more straightforward and lift the compulsory affiliation requirement.While the modifications did much to deal with longstanding criticism from the International Labour Organisation, the European Union, as well as the International Trade Union Confederation regarding the limiting room for trade union arranging in Kazakhstan, this case against ITUFEW makes clear that Kazakh authorities still have far more to do to guarantee that trade unions in Kazakhstan can function easily and also without concern of harassment or compelled suspension.The Kazakh authorities should drop the instance against ITUFEW and also enable independent trade unions to register as well as operate according to worldwide labor requirements validated by Kazakhstan, Civil rights Watch stated.”The improvements to the trade union law are just lip solution if Kazakh authorities are still attempting to paralyze independent trade unions in method,”Rittmann said.” The Shymkent City Administration should immediately withdraw its case against ITUFEW, as well as the authorities must create a setting in which profession unions can function without anxiety. “