May - November 2023
The role and effectiveness of trade unions in protecting workers' rights through the prism of public perception

Private Institution “Eurasian Center for People Management” (ECPM)
Pilot project on the example of Mangistau region and Almaty
In 2022, Kazakhstan recorded a 15-fold increase in the number of social and labour conflicts. Most of them are of spontaneous nature, which actualises the question of the relevance of trade unions in the system of relations between employees and employers. The public discourse on the protection of workers' interests focuses on the problems of trade unions themselves (for example, the issue of "professionalisation" of trade union leaders, etc. But the opinion of workers about trade unions remains "behind the scenes". Do the population see trade unions as an effective mechanism for protecting their labour rights? This question, which in principle reflects the culture of protection of workers' rights and interests in the Republic of Kazakhstan, became the key question within the framework of this project. The results of the research will become a starting point for initiating a public discussion on the role and importance of trade unions as mechanisms for protecting workers' rights. Launching the discussion and developing recommendations for the development of a culture of protection of workers' rights and interests are the main priorities of the project.
Project objective:
To provide material for public discussion on the role and functions of trade unions in protecting workers' rights in Kazakhstan based on a pilot study.
Project tasks:
  1. To actualise the problem of trade unions' protection of workers' rights in the public information space;
  2. To launch a public discussion on effective mechanisms for representing workers' interests and the role of trade unions;
  3. To draw attention to the assessment of trade unions by the population of the country;
  4. To update the issue of the need to develop a culture of defence of workers' rights.
Main project activities:
  • Conducting applied research, in two locations (Mangistau region and Almaty). The research includes an expert survey (minimum 15 experts) and 8 focus group discussions (4 in each location) with representatives of the industrial sector, public sector, agriculture and self-employed in the platform economy;
  • Writing and publishing an analytical report based on the results of the research, and developing recommendations to be sent to stakeholders whose area of responsibility includes ensuring and respecting workers' rights;
  • Holding an offline roundtable with streaming support and organising a press conference for journalists to launch a public discussion.
The project was implemented by the Eurasian Centre for People Management with the financial support of the Representative Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Central Asia.