Entrepreneurship development is a key element of economic growth and employment.
In 1998-1999, the economic policy of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan strengthened the emphasis on the development of social partnership (tripartism) between the government bodies, employers and trade unions. The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has developed a wide range of programs aimed at developing entrepreneurship, improving management methods and promoting the development of small businesses. These programs envisaged the development of a wide network of organizations (associations) of employers capable of protecting the interests of entrepreneurs at all levels of the government.
The adoption of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Social Partnership in the Republic of Kazakhstan” gave a new impetus to the development of a system of relations and mechanisms aimed at ensuring the coordination of interests between the representatives of executive bodies, employers and employees.
Social dialogue is a powerful tool that helps to overcome the possible confrontation of different segments of the population in a market environment, thereby strengthening the social cohesion of society.
The development of domestic traditions for holding public consultations and negotiations requires time and responsible attitude.
At the same time, the social partners must have the ability and will to participate in this process in a responsible manner, while remaining flexible in order to adapt to modern conditions and take advantage of new opportunities.
Since 1995, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan (UIEK) has annually participated in the conclusion of the General Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and republican associations of trade unions and employers.
At the same time, representing only a certain part of the Republic's employers, the UIEK was forced to take responsibility for all the employers' organizations.
In this situation, some employers' organizations expressed dissatisfaction with the "supposedly unjustified monopoly" of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan to participate in the work of the Trilateral Commission and sign the General Agreements annually on behalf of the employers' organizations.
The problem prompted the UIEK to come out with the initiative to unite all the country's employers and create the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan in August 1999.
As of August 1999, there were 57 such disparate organizations registered in the Republic, but of these 33 were actually functioning, including public organizations, professional associations and business associations.
Despite the differences in fields and types of activities, all these associations pursued the same goal - building a socially oriented economy in Kazakhstan.
The idea of the need to unite the country's employers into one organization was supported by the international organizations operating in Kazakhstan.
Thus, in November 1999, the ILO held a Regional Conference for the CIS countries on the topic: “Strengthening the employers' organizations in the transition economies” in Almaty and the International Conference of Experts of the ILO and the CIS countries on labor and social protection in December 1999 in St. Petersburg.
Both conferences noted the absence of unified employers' organizations in the CIS countries ensuring the implementation of the common policy and protection of the interests of employers.
In addition, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Washington) together with the High School of International Business organized a seminar for the executives of Kazakhstan’s business associations in Almaty in December 1999.
During the seminar, it was noted that business organizations in Kazakhstan will be able to play an active role in supporting the market system and democracy only after going through the process of transformation and learning to defend their interests before the Government and society. By the time of the Constituent Assembly on the establishment of the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, i.e. by December 22, 1999, 23 unions and associations had signed the Charter and the Founding Agreement of the NCERK.
The First Constituent Assembly of Employers approved the emblem, flag of the Confederation, management structure of the organization and adopted the Memorandum, defining the main goals of the Confederation.
The memorandum stated:
“We, the participants of the First Constituent Assembly of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, willing to contribute to overcoming the crisis in the economy and reducing social tension, as well as to accelerate the development of a social partnership society, voluntarily established the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Confederation declares that, on behalf of employers, it will participate in the republican tripartite commission on social partnership and regulation of socio-economic and labor relations, as well as represent the interests of the majority of employers in the country, when signing the annual General Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, trade union associations and the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
We, the founders of the Confederation, declare that employers are well aware of their role and responsibility to the citizens of Kazakhstan for the rise of the national economy and call on public organizations and associations of legal entities of employers to unite under the auspices of the Confederation and join the membership.
Then we can and should become an authoritative and effective partner of the state in further democratization of the society”.
State registration of the newly established Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan was made on January 12, 2000 in a solemn atmosphere with wide media coverage countrywide.
From the first days of its activity, the Executive Directorate of the NCERK attached great importance to continuous communication with the founders in the form of regular meetings, participation in the work of the Republican Tripartite Commission, active work in the working groups of the ministries, departments and the Parliament.
At the first stage of the development of the NCERK the Executive Directorate built its work through associations and unions, combining about a thousand legal entities and their regional structures. Since 2000 the Executive Directorate began to work directly with 120 large enterprises of the country.
In Kazakhstan, the process of employers' consolidation has just begun. Currently, 296 public associations are registered in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Each of them tries to show its exclusivity, emphasizing its independence. This is a temporary process. Sooner or later, everyone will “ripen” before realizing the need to unite employers into one powerful structure.
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in his Message to the people of Kazakhstan (2000) emphasized: “…We urgently need a holistic concept of social policy, not impulsive leaps of a private nature. Trade unions and employers need to work on this too, rolling up their sleeves, and not just demanding.”
This requirement of the President was accepted with understanding among the employers of the country, especially among the members of the Confederation, which united the most proactive, law-abiding employers with an active life position and high intellectual potential.
From the first days of its activity, the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan started to justify the hopes and expectations of its founders and quickly gained authority both in the Republic and international organizations:From the first days of its activity, the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan started to justify the hopes and expectations of its founders and quickly gained authority both in the Republic and international organizations:
International Labor Organization (ILO), International Union of Commodity Producers (IUCP), International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ICIE), etc. It should be emphasized that the Bureau for Employers' Activities of the ILO (Mr. Erwin Blasum) and the ILO National Correspondent for the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. T. Umirzhanov provided substantial support.
Thus, the ILO Bureau of Employers' Activities, together with the Israel Manufacturers' Association and the Center for International Cooperation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, organized a seminar for Directors and selected employees of employers' organizations from the transition economies in Tel Aviv on April 3-14, 2000.
Twenty-one representatives of sixteen employers' organizations from fourteen countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia took part in the seminar. A serious test for the newly established structure was the work on the General Agreement for 2000. The draft General Agreement, prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan, was sent to all the founders of the CERK for consideration.
And, only upon analyzing all their comments and proposals, the final version of the General Agreement for 2000 was signed by all three parties on February 28, 2000.
On March 7, 2000, the full text of this document was published by the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper. The Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan was directly involved in the development and discussion of the following bills:
• “On Labor in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
• “On social partnership in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
• “On state targeted social assistance”
• “On safety and labor protection”
• “On Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Labor Protection” (postponed at the proposal of the Republic of Kazakhstan)
• “On Compulsory Insurance of the Employer's Liability for Causing Harm to the Life and Health of an Employee in the Performance of Labor (Official) Duties” (postponed at the suggestion of the Republic of Kazakhstan)
• Draft Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Approval of the Rules for Compensation by the Employer of Harm Caused to the Life and Health of an Employee in the Performance of Labor and Other Contractual Duties” (postponed at the proposal of the Republic of Kazakhstan)
• “On employment of the population in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
• “On collective labor disputes and strikes”
• “On taxes and other obligatory payments to the budget”
• “On the customs business in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
• “On amendments and additions to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On labor in the Republic of Kazakhstan”
• “On introduction of amendments and additions to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On protection and support of private entrepreneurship”.
The Second Assembly of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan took place on May 27, 2000. 246 delegates took part in its work, including: founders - 117 people, invited guests - 63 people and delegates from the large enterprises - 56 people. At the Second Assembly of Employers, an Appeal to all the employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan was adopted, which noted:
“To consider it vital to unite the efforts of all the employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan for further development and strengthening of the Confederation on the basis of expanding the number of its participants and providing them with multilateral qualified support.”
A year has passed since the adoption of the Resolution by the Second Assembly of Employers. Now, we can state that the main instructions of the Resolution of the Second Assembly have been fulfilled by the Board and the Executive Directorate. Thus, since the beginning of 2001, the Executive Directorate, together with a number of organizations headed by the International Academy of Business, has been working on the project “Development of a Technology for Assessing the Quality of Business Education”.
The appeal noted the strategic importance of the Tax Code as a single codified Law, which occupies one of the leading places in the legal system of the state, and proposed to supplement the Code with norms providing for specific measures to stimulate the development of domestic production. Suffice it to say that the NCRK submitted more than 700 proposals and additions to the Commission for the development of the draft Tax Code, of which over 200 were adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
As for the issues of employers related to the application of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Customs in the Republic of Kazakhstan”, the Government included members of the Board of the Confederation of Employers and members of the Union of Industrialists in the expert group for evaluating the developed normative acts (orders, regulations, resolutions, orders and instructions). and entrepreneurs.
Thus, reality and vitality were ensured in the development and adoption of these documents. This great work to improve and systematize the normative acts of the customs legislation streamlined the relationship between state bodies and participants in foreign economic activity. “The Program of Cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the International Labor Organization for 2000-2001” was signed on May 23, 2000 in Astana.
On behalf of the Organization of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Program was signed by the First Deputy Chairman of the Board of the CERK M. Kravchenko. On the one hand, the Cooperation Program is based on the national development strategy of the Republic of Kazakhstan and, on the other hand, on the new strategic concept of the ILO and on the Active Partnership Policy. They cover four strategic objectives: application of fundamental principles and rights at work; employment development; social protection and social dialogue. Particular attention in the Program is paid to the interests of social partners - associations of employers and trade unions.
The Cooperation Program notes that Employers and their organizations will play an important role in the implementation of most of the tasks included in the Program. The importance for the development of social partnership in Kazakhstan and creation of a new structure - the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan was also emphasized. The program has become a document that determines the relationship between the social partners of Kazakhstan and the ILO for 2000-2001.
The participation of the Board members in the work of the First Central Asian International Forum in Almaty and in the meetings of the 88th session of the International Labor Conference in Geneva in June 2000 strengthened the image of the Confederation of Employers of Kazakhstan in the eyes of International Organizations. In November 2000, the Confederation of Employers, together with the International Labor Organization, held a Conference on the topic:
“Strengthening cooperation between employers in Kazakhstan”. The atmosphere in which this conference was held is fully characterized by the assessment expressed by the Minister A. Baimenov:
The head of the ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities, Mr. Blazuma, emphasized in his speech that “… In transition economies, trade unions have become in a privileged position, and employers' organizations must start from scratch. … A lot has changed in CERK over the past year! You are closer to meeting business expectations.
I believe that the basis for further growth has been created in the Confederation.” As already noted, the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan was established on December 22, 1999. The founding agreement was signed by 23 unions and associations, which then included about 900 legal entities (enterprises).
By the end of 2000 the number of members of the CERK increased due to the entry of eight large enterprises (such as RSE “MAEC”, LLP “Bogatyr Access Komir”, etc.). The membership in other unions and founding associations of the CERK has also increased. As of 20.07.2001, 1463 enterprises have already become members of the CERK, that is, the dynamics of its growth is as follows:
• 1999 - 23 employers' associations - 900 enterprises
• 2000 - 22 employers' associations - 1000 enterprises
• 2001 - 27 employers' associations - 1463 enterprises
Structurally, the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a republican association of legal entities in the form of an association. The Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan includes 27 associations of employers and public organizations, eight of which have regional structures in the regions, in addition, eleven large enterprises are “direct” members of the CERK.
As of 20.07.2001, the number of employees at the enterprises -members of the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan is about 220,000 people. Given that the number of employed population in the economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan was 3,400,000 people by the end of 2000, the degree of coverage by the Confederation of Employers of the Republic of Kazakhstan of the number of all employees in the Republic of Kazakhstan is 6.5%.
Additional information, including on the membership application process, can be obtained from the Executive Director of the NCERK