Analysis of labour conflicts and protests in Russia

24.03.2014

The recent research of the Center for Social and Labor Rights (CSLR) called “Labour Protests in Russia in 2008-2013” gives an insight into labour conflicts and protests in Russia for the last six years.

The monitoring, which had for a goal the study of the level of conflicts in the sphere of social and labour relations in Russia proves that the biggest number of protests actions happened at the end of 2013. This indicator is higher than the previous record from 2009. The situation in 2009 is explained by the fact of crisis in the economy resulted in a triple increase of protest actions comparing to 2008.

According to the research many experts considered the situation in the second half of 2013 as an inevitable precursor to an economic crisis. The level of production did not grow, the strength of the currency was weakening and many discussed potential increase of unemployment. The research says the most important reasons for the protests were the “policy of business leaders” and “refusal of the management to negotiate”.

The research is based on a daily monitoring of mass media resources including specialised web-based labour resources as well as central and regional information agencies. The study argues that the results of the research could potentially allow seeing the increase of conflict situations and preventing the more difficult social disturbances, which can evolve from labour protests. Information coming from more than 80 resources was considered in 2013.

The research explains that by the end of 2013 Russian workers chose the three main ways to declare about their discontent. Most often they put forward their demands, conducted meetings of protest and held strikes. The study also concludes that these methods have nothing in common with the procedure on settling collective labour disputes set forth in the Russian Labour Code. 

Under the present conditions the chosen methods are the only way to obtain some results in the current economic and political situation. Given the number of conflicts that led to a strike, the study comes to a conclusion that Russian workers usually prefer to solve conflicts in a peaceful way, as they believe the extreme protests will only aggravate the situation at their enterprises and will neither solve workers’ problems nor improve their situation. Therefore, the study concludes, “The current labour protests (in Russia) are an insistent invitation to dialogue. However, many employers do not understand it.”

Center for Social and Labor Rights (CSLR) is a Russian non-profit and non-governmental organization focused on promotion, compliance and protection of social and labour rights.

The full text of the study is available on CSLR website. http://trudprava.ru/expert/analytics/protestanalyt/1047