3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Russian Federation

The ITUC affiliates in the Russian Federation are the Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR).

In practice

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Kachkanar Mining and Ore-Processing Plant does not respect collective agreements excluding trade union from due consultation03-03-2016

The Miners’ and Metallurgical Workers’ Union of Russia (MMWU), through the voice of its local leader Anatoly Pyankov, stated that the Kachkanar Mining and Ore-Processing Plant (EVRAZ KGOK) failed to respect the collective agreement provisions. With no consideration of what is stated in the collective agreement, providing the duty of enterprise management to consult social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. during phases of corporate restructuring, EVRAZ KGOK overlooked completely the trade union presence and decided unilaterally for reduction of headcount and payrolls.
Despite the fact the plant’s production output and profit are rising, management claimed a necessary cut in expenses that had to affect primarily the cost of staff. Some 150 workers quit their jobs after compensation was offered on an individual-negotiation base, while some others were forced to take unpaid leave. Workers, nullified as a collective group, had no possibility but to accept the draconian conditions imposed by the enterprise that, being the major employer in Kachkanar, left them with no other option of employment in the mining sector in the region.

Strike on the 2018 World Cup Stadium in Nizhniy Novgorod16-03-2016

Workers of the 2018 World Cup Stadium in Nizhiniy Novgorod went on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
denouncing unpaid work and absence of employment contracts. Their employer, a Turkish subcontracting company, shifted all responsibilities to the main contractor. The latter refused all the accusations saying that payments were always made on time. During World Cup preparatory works there were two cases of wage arrears on the 2018 World Cup stadiums, fatal accidents at the construction of the stadium in St. Petersburg and an occupational health and safety accident at the stadium in Volgograd. All these episodes led to a huge mistrust among workers against the organisation behind the World Cup. In this respect, Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), stated that trade unions have been excluded from the preparations for the World Cup with no opportunity to ensure protection of labour rights (on-time payment, decent conditions of work, employment contracts, etc.).

Criminal prosecution of trade union activist:16-12-2014

On 15 December 2014, Nakhodka city court handed down a guilty verdict against Leonid Tikhonov, chairman of the Russian Trade Union of Dockers of East Port. He was sentenced to imprisonment in a penal colony for 3 years and 6 months for embezzling union funds. The Dockers’ Union of Russia believes that the allegations against Tikhonov are false and that he is being victimised for his trade union activities.

Metalworkers face union busting:17-10-2014

Union representatives at Turbodetal tried to negotiate a collective agreement with the management concerning the problem of underpaid workers holding more than one position and the increase in the costof- living. Tired of fruitless talks, workers called for a general assembly on 17 October 2014 in which they demanded to be compensated for working more than one job and better pay to cover inflation. As a consequence the factory management set out to bust the union. According to the union committee, factory supervisors received instructions on how to force workers to withdraw from their trade union. The supervisors and team leaders themselves were threatened with having their bonuses cut or stopped if they failed to persuade workers to leave the union. As a result of the union busting union busting Attempts by an employer to prevent the establishment of a trade union or remove an existing union, e.g. by firing union members, challenging unions in court, or by forming a yellow union. , around 200 workers withdrew from the union.

Trade unionists arrested20-10-2013

On 18 and 20 October, Alexei Shliapnikov, Valery Pimoshenko and Sergei Knyshov, leaders and activists of the Sheremetevo Trade Union of Airline Pilots (ShPLS), were arrested by the police and subjected to criminal investigation for an alleged attempt to extort a large sum of money from JSC Aeroflot. According to the Russian Confederation of Labour (KTR), these accusations were in retaliation to the loss of the court case against the union over unpaid wages for night work and hazardous work in 2011/2012. The company has been engaged in a campaign against the union. For years, ShPLS has been fighting for the right to sign its own collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
agreement with the employer to reflect unique aspects of airline pilots’ work – including work and rest schedule, leave, planning, insurance, and health check-ups. Aeroflot management refused to participate in any official negotiations with the ShPLS. It even launched a media campaign against the union, the main objective of which was to block collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
negotiations as well as to avoid the court ordering payments to pilots.

Constitutional Court rules in favour of union24-10-2013

On 24 October 2013, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of the All-Russian Oil, Gas, and Construction Workers’ Union and the All-Russian Public Institutions and Public Services Workers’ Union regarding their right to freedom of choice of trade union structure. In 2010, trade unions introduced a number of amendments to their statutes ensuring their right to create inter-regional, territorial (municipal, inter-municipal, and city), amalgamated, sector-based, district and other trade union organisations. However, the Prosecutor’s Office decided that this was not in conformity with the Federal Law “On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees of their Activity”. The Constitutional Court overruled this decision by declaring that Article 3 of the Federal Law “On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees of their Activity” was unconstitutional.

Inference in trade union activities31-01-2013

In January 2013, the Prosecutor declared that the ban on public activities at the Peugeot-Citroen plant was illegal. Management had prohibited the ITUA from distributing union leaflets among workers leaving the plant after their shift. Security guards physically attacked them and detained them in the parking lot.

Violence against union leaders31-03-2013

Valentin Urusov, a miner and a trade union leader from Yakutia in Russia’s north-eastern territory was arrested under the pretext that he was dealing in drugs. He was tortured and then sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was released in March 2013.

Acts of interference by employers16-08-2013

Benteler offered a significant premium payment to workers who had not participated in strikes.

Refusal to bargain in good faith16-08-2013
Anti-union discrimination16-08-2013

Bashneft, one of the largest oil companies in Russia, threatened workers who intended to join unions with dismissal. This led to hundreds of workers leaving the Russian Chemical and Allied Workers’ Union (RCWU).

Mr. Morozov and Mr. Kolegov, two trade union leaders employed at Heineken Joint Breweries were dismissed for protesting against contract and agency labour. The Prosecutor’s Office deemed their dismissal unlawful and ordered management to reinstate them.

Unions often denied registration 31-12-2011

Under the Federal Law on Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guarantees of their Activities, trade unions are registered as legal entities upon notification, and it is prohibited to deny registration. However, in practice the registrars often deny registration or require the unions to make changes to their statutes. For example, the registrars may view the requirement in the law to specify the geographical scope of the union’s activities as an obligation to provide a list of all the territories where affiliates exist, thus making it difficult for affiliates from other territories to join the union. The registrars can also require that regional unions specify all sectors where an affiliate can be created, although the law provides for no such requirements.

No effective system for defending trade union rights 31-12-2011

Defending trade union rights and stopping discrimination can be a gruelling experience. Trade unions’ appeals to prosecutors’ offices may not only go unanswered, but may even result in increased pressure on the unions. Going to court is only possible in cases of specific violations, and the procedure is both complicated and costly. Furthermore, even when a court rules in favour of the union, that does not alleviate the general situation, as trade union rights are constantly violated. Neither the Criminal Code nor the Code of Administrative Offences contains any special provisions on liability for violations of union rights.

There were a number of court rulings in 2011 concerning cases of trade union rights violations committed in previous years.
On 19 January, Tverskoy District court again refused to uphold an appeal by the Inter-regional Trade Union of Automobile Industry Workers (ITUA), affiliated to the Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) and the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), which concerned the decision (in 2009) to include trade union materials into the Federal List of extremist materials.
On 18 January, the regional court of the Samarskaya region rejected the lawsuit brought by activists from the General Motors - AvtoVaz primary trade union organisation, who were fired without any consultation with the trade union in 2009.

In 2011, numerous claims by the activists of the primary trade union organisation at “Tikkurila” near St Petersbourg were rejected by the courts. A deputy chair of the trade union organisation, Igor Ramko, another deputy chair, Elena Rostovskaya, the members of the trade union Vyacheslav Vackulenko and Alexander Kalyniuk were dismissed in 2010, and their claims were rejected.

One of the cases in which a court refused to protect the human rights of trade union activists in 2011 was connected with the most outrageous and brutal example of repression against a trade union leader, the case of Valentin Urusov, a leader of the trade union organisation at ALROSA, the largest diamond company in Russia. The leader of the newly established trade union was sentenced to six years in jail in 2008, on trumped-up charge of storing drugs. Despite an international solidarity campaign, Valentin Urusov remains in jail. His appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sakha Yakutia on 30 June 2011.

Recourse to dispute resolution and strikes undermined31-12-2011

At least 263 protest actions occurred, including at least 91 collective work stoppages. The huge majority of these actions (around 92%) were held without observing the procedures and requirements of the Labour Code concerning collective labour disputes.

Recourse to dispute resolution and strikes undermined04-12-2010

Official statistics only indicate that a few strikes took place in 2010, but according to unofficial monitoring at least 205 protest actions occurred, including at least 88 collective work stoppages. The majority of these actions were held without observing the procedures and requirements of the Labour Code concerning collective labour disputes.

The unofficial actions are a result of the extensive restrictions and complicated procedures in the law; of unfair behaviour by many employers having no intention to negotiate with workers and resolve collective conflicts; and of blunt interference by the law enforcement bodies, which often support the employers, especially in small towns and isolated territories. Various tactics including pressure, intimidation and threats are also used by employers, prosecutors, officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and others to prevent workers and trade unions from accessing dispute resolution mechanisms and from going on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
.

As a result workers and trade unions do not believe that they can effectively use the legal procedures and thus prefer to organise other types of mass actions to attract the attention of the regional or federal government.

Trade union leaders face problems with access to workplace10-10-2010

The law grants external trade union representatives and inspectors the right to access workplaces, but this right is often ignored in practice. Some employers refer to governmental instructions regulating access to enterprises in their sectors to refuse to issue workplace passes, and when issued the trade unionists have to pay for them. Attempts to enlist the help of the public authorities have yielded little result. In 2009 the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) addressed a request to the Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to draft a Federal Act providing for a procedure for access to workplaces. This petition was redirected to the Ministry of Health and Social Development, which eventually replied that the question requires additional discussions. An act has yet to be adopted.

Systematic and serious violations30-11-2009

Attacks on trade union leaders, government interference and persecution, denial of registration and recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. , anti-union harassment in the workplaces and lack of effort in investigating the violations of trade union rights are not isolated cases, but an everyday reality. This has prompted two national trade union centres, All-Russian Confederation of Labour (VKT) and Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) to prepare a comprehensive complaint to the ILO International Labour Organization A tripartite United Nations (UN) agency established in 1919 to promote working and living conditions. The main international body charged with developing and overseeing international labour standards.

See tripartism, ITUC Guide to international trade union rights
Committee on Freedom of Association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
. By the time of writing, the complaint has been submitted and then endorsed by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), the ITUC and the global union federations IMF, ITF and IUF.

Workers who join trade unions or engage in union activities are often mistreated by employers and authorities alike. While union members suffer from anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

and pressure to relinquish their trade union membership, the leaders of grass-root organisations are subject to intimidation, harassment and even physical attacks. Since there are no special laws to protect freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
and the right to organise, trade unionists must make use of general legal procedures to protect their rights and liberties. Even though there have been some success stories of a conflict being settled or a wrongly dismissed leader reinstated, the existing mechanisms are considered ineffective.

National legislation is also being interpreted in a way that all cases of anti-union discrimination anti-union discrimination Any practice that disadvantages a worker or a group of workers on grounds of their past, current or prospective trade union membership, their legitimate trade union activities, or their use of trade union services. Can constitute dismissal, transfer, demotion, harassment and the like.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework

have to be reviewed by courts. Therefore, labour inspectorates, who are in principle entrusted with the task of overseeing compliance with the labour law, routinely dismiss complaints against anti-union behaviour, and appeals to the prosecutor’s offices have so far not been effective. Trade unions report that the existing system fuels a climate of impunity in the workplaces. Moreover, appeals to the prosecutor’s offices often do more harm than good, as prosecutors tend to side with the employers against the unions, and, after the investigation is concluded, anti-union pressure increases.

Interference with union affairs30-11-2009

Registration rules give law enforcement bodies extensive control over the content of trade union constitutions. Registrars often interpret the law in a manner that unions perceive as inappropriate, but failure to comply with the registrar’s comments will likely mean that the registration is delayed or denied. The law also requires the unions to specify the geographic scope of its activities. The registrars view this as an obligation to provide a list of all territories where the affiliates are active, and accepting affiliates from other regions would call for amendments to the union constitution.

Trade union leaders are often summoned by law enforcement bodies for different reasons. In most cases, this does not lead to further consequences and, in trade unionists’ view, are just used to pressurise and harass them. Occasionally, criminal charges are considered against the unionists. Tax inspections and auditions are not uncommon, and failure to provide documents such as lists of members may result in fines. Police officers are also after union rosters: for example, after an employee was murdered in a company in Togliatti, the investigators demanded the full list of members of grass root trade union organisations, even though there was no link between the unions and the murder.

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