As ‘Ak Zhaiyk’ recently reported, at the suggestion of the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Labour Inspectorate is examining companies in Tengiz employing more than fifty foreign workers. During the process it became apparent that while local workers earned good money, the principle of justice was not always respected. Regarding the interim results of the audit, a conversation was had with Iglilik Aubakirov, the head of the Department of the State Labour Inspectorate in the Atyrau region.
-“There are thirty two companies at the Tengiz field that we must check as per submission of the Prosecutor General. To date, seventeen of them have been checked, and in almost all, there has been a disparity in salaries between foreign and Kazakhstani employees holding the same position”, says Aubakirov.
According to him, more than two hundred violations were revealed and almost half were regarding the difference in salary.
- For example, a foreign instrumentation engineer receives $400 (155 thousand tenge) per day, while a Kazakhstani in the same position receives about 40 thousand tenge per day. In another position, a foreigner receives $330 (128 thousand tenge) per day while a Kazakhstani in the same position receives 35 thousand tenge. A difference of nearly four times more than the local rate of pay and in some cases more than this.
In addition, inconsistencies between foreign worker’s diplomas and their positions and work performed has been revealed.
-“The State Inspectorate initiates administrative cases according to these facts. Imposes fines and writes the corresponding instructions. Currently, some companies are disputing our actions in Court, which is their right. We send letters to the Regional Department for Coordination of Employment and Social Programmes, which is the body which issues permits, asking them to withdraw permits. Foreigners who violate the rules will have to leave the country if the permit is cancelled according to our actions”.
Due to the large volume of the work, Aubakirov has not yet announced the exact date for the completion of the audit. In some instances, the requested documents have not been provided in a timely manner. Companies have varying numbers of workers – inspectors must look at all expat documents, compare salaries, job descriptions and identify differences.
As well as the current inspection, inspectors now have 89 current applications from citizens to deal with.
-“Since the beginning of the year, 1160 applications have been received. As a result of inspections, the rights of 600 citizens were protected. Issues dealt with included questions regarding wages, conclusion of an employment contract, illegal dismissal, illegal prosecution and inadequate investigation of industrial accidents”, said the chief "HR" officer of the region.
- Why do inconsistencies in work permits for current positions continue? Why do they continue to issue such permits?
- “A work permit is issued by a Commission under the auspices of the Coordination and Employment Department, which reviews all applications. Foreigners are handing over a certain package of documents and everything is consistent with their papers – both education and work experience”.
Aubakirov has not yet announced the names of affected companies and employees as verification is still ongoing. When the instructions are drawn up and the perpetrators are brought to administrative responsibility there will be more detailed information including the amounts of fines. According to the law, a fine is imposed to the amount of 1,767,500 tenge when a foreigner works without permission and 252,500 tenge for imbalance in salary.