Dispute begins at Nissan, ends at Ford in Russia

30.05.2012

ITUA local at Nissan in Saint-Petersburg held a workers' conference and adopted collective demands for the first round of negotiations starting on May 31. At Ford in Vsevolozhsk (Saint-Petersburg area) ITUA forced management to make some concessions, and the dispute is close to being resolved.

RUSSIA: On May 19 the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) local at Nissan held a workers' conference, which adopted the collective demands. On May 24 the management announced the date of the first round of negotiations, May 31.

The demands are as follows:

  1. Adjust the wages according to the official inflation figure (6.1 per cent) and raise wages by 25 per cent. Average wage at Nissan is US$1,000 today, the workers want it to be US$1,300.
  2. Extend paid breaks to 15 minutes.
  3. Change the shifts rotation scheme (night -- evening -- morning).
  4. Extend dental care provisions in the health insurance.
  5. Let workers elect shop foremen.
  6. Conduct reassessment of individual workplaces with participation of the union.
  7. Move all agency workers to permanent positions and terminate contracts with employment agencies.

ITUA reports that the share of agency workers employed by ManPower and Versus is very high at Nissan. They do the same work as permanent workers, but fare much worse in terms of wages and guarantees.

The conference recognized ITUA local as a full representative of workers.

The negotiations will take place from May 31 to June 13. During the negotiations the workers have the right to one-hour warning strike.

Meanwhile, an industrial dispute at Ford in Vsevolozhsk (Saint-Petersburg area) is close to being resolved.

ITUA reports that the key success there was avoiding the so called Kaizen system. The promotion and raising grade levels for workers won't depend on their 'innovative suggestions'. Also, the shifts will be cut by five minutes and additional breaks for 10-hour night shift will be introduced.

Some issues concerning work in harmful conditions and high temperature are not resolved, however, the union reports that it will defend the workers' interests in these matters without going on strike.

"Agreeing with current concessions means avoiding lengthy strike action and saving the strike fund. The latter is especially important since the CBA at Ford expires on February 28, 2013," noted the representative of the union.

ITUA local at Ford reported on May 22 that the employer made some concessions during the collective dispute. Earlier the union planned to hold a strike, however, now it can be avoided and the strike fund can be saved for February 2013, when the current CBA ends.

The union will hold a vote among workers on the concessions and decide whether to proceed with collective dispute or not.