A fundamental change of social and economic situation in the country since the time when the current Law of RoK "On Trade Unions" was adopted in 1993 and large-scale social modernization, along with the weakness of working parties and division of the trade union movement require a reviewof the existing legislation.
Currently, the trade union movement unites only 30% of the employed population of Kazakhstan, or slightly more than 2.5 million workers out of 8.4 million employed people. The National Chamber of Entrepreneurs, established in 2013, and local government authorities have a greater influence on decisions taken in the country than small and divided trade unions. Strengthening of the position and increasing the influence of employers' associations on the one hand, and the state, on the other hand, should be conducted by a strong business representation.
The main novelties of the draft law
1. Consolidation of the trade unions of the priority right to represent the interests of workers and negotiating is when the representatives of employees may be bodies of trade unions, their associations, and in their absence - elected representatives, elected and authorized employees of the general meeting of employees by a majority vote of participants.
2. Expansion of authorities and clear separation of functions of the Commissions for Social Partnership according to levels of labor relations – for example, it is considered that the trade union movement on the republican level shall ensure harmonization of draft laws based on social and labour relations, training and promotion of recommendations; development and coordination of activities to eliminate and prevent social and labour conflicts.
3. Enforceability of General, sectoral / regional agreements and specification of their content - is when some amendments are introduced to the Labour Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, according to which the General Agreement shall be applied by the executive bodies at all levels
(employers, employees and their representatives). Sectoral agreements of the social partners develop obligations of the parties on the key issues of labour relations and social development of enterprises of this industry. The content and structure of the collective agreement are defined by the parties in accordance with the concluded General, sectoral and regional agreements.
4. Mandatory equivalence (membership) of trade unions based on the levels of social partnership - is when activity of trade unions should be built on the principles of equivalence (membership), which will expand the representation of employees: local trade unions should be included into sectoral trade unions; sectoral trade unions - in the national trade union associations; territorial trade union associations - in the republican trade union associations.
The present draft law does not limit the right of trade unions on organizational multiplicity and does not establish a monopoly of one trade union, i.e. trade unions do not have to be a member organization of a particular trade union association, and they can choose whether to enter various trade unions or form trade union associations on their own.
Legislative recognition of the model of the trade union movement will create the legal framework for effective strengthening the operational missions, preparing staff and training the leaders of the trade union movement who can ensure an adequate protection of the interests of workers at all levels of social dialogue, and ensure a balance of interests of major participants of labor relations and prevention of labour disputes.