Tag Archives: independent Russian trade unions

Support TagAZ-ITUA Activists!

04-bigThe Taganrog Automobile Plant (TagAZ), in the southern Rostov Region of Russia, assembles a number of Hyundai vehicles as well as its own line of cars. When you look at their website, you get a rather rosy picture of labor relations at the plant:

TagAZ takes pride in its skilled amicable personnel. At present employed are about 2 600 people including employees in the applied productions. 30 percent of them are engineering-technical staff.

Average age of the plant personnel is 25 years. About 40 percent of the staff are women. Their patience and tidiness are irreplaceable at some stages of the assembling conveyor.

At the starting period of the plant the engineer staff and young specialists were trained at automobile plants in South Korea, Europe and USA. Regular professional trainings at the leading world undertakings are part of the program of improving personnel’s skills. TagAZ collaborates with technical highest schools in employing of perspective specialists.

Socially oriented staff policy and work conditions make TagAZ the one of the most attractive employers in the labour market in the southern region of the Russia.

In fact, things are anything but rosy at TagAZ. Since August 2007, members of the TagAZ local of the Interregional Trade Union of Auto Workers (ITUA) have been struggling against a stacked deck that includes every union-busting trick in the book (including physical reprisals) to have their union recognized by plant management.

On December 10, the ITUA, the All-Russia Labor Confederation, and the Petersburg Committee for Solidarity Actions (KSD) launched a solidarity campaign in support of TagAZ-ITUA. Chtodelat News is pleased to support this campaign. We urge you to read the following interview with two TagAZ-ITUA activists. Following the interview is a translation of the solidarity appeal. It contains lots of information about how you can join the campaign. You can also help by crossposting the interview and the appeal on your blogs and websites.

There is power in the union!

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Knuckledusters as an Instrument of “Social Dialogue”: More on the Attack on Russian Union Leader Alexei Etmanov

Knuckledusters as an Instrument of “Social Dialogue” in Contemporary Russia

Who Is Bothered by Alexei Etmanov? 

111Reprisals against union leaders have, unfortunately, ceased to be merely a part of the ancient history of the trade union movement. They have more and more often become a reality of labor relations in today’s Russia.

On the night of November 8, when Alexei Etmanov, chair of the union committee at Ford-Vsevolozhsk and co-chair of the Russian Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), returned home after his shift, he was attacked by three armed bandits. It is clear that the people who sent them wanted to ensure numerical superiority. Here, however, their calculations ran afoul: Alexei managed to force his attackers, who were armed with knuckledusters, to retreat in shame.

However, in order to dispel any doubts as to the motives for the attack, the “organizers” of this piece of brigandage telephoned another union leader at Ford, Vladimir Lesnik, and threatened reprisals if the Ford unionists “didn’t stop getting in [their] way.”

Over the past two years such attacks have happened more than once: labor activists have been savagely beaten in Kaliningrad, Togliatti, and Taganrog. Each time the targets were union activists who challenged the complete sway of their employers and thus all employers who recognize no one’s rights other than their own sovereign right to dictate the work conditions and the lives of “their” workers. Continue reading

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