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Blatant violation of labour rights at Benteler in Russia

13 December, 2012Dmitry Khokhlov, an assembly line operator at Benteler, a VW supplier in Kaluga, Russia, and a union activist, was rehired in accordance with a court decision — and then immediately fired again. Benteler HR director said the court’s order ‘goes against corporate ethics’.

On 19 October Dmitry Khokhlov, deputy president of the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) local at Benteler Automotive in Kaluga, Russia, was dismissed.

After a successful strike for the recognition of the union in March 2012 ITUA signed a collective agreement with the management, one of the best in the Kaluga industrial area. However, the company didn’t withdraw from anti-union tactics.

There is a clear pattern of workers’ rights violations at Benteler, since Khokhlov’s dismissal was illegal, and earlier two cases of disciplinary action against Benteler workers had already been overturned by court decision.

Recently the local court ordered the reinstatement of Khokhlov and payment of compensation. However, on his first day at work on 10 December he was invited to talk to Elena Sirotkina, HR director at Benteler. She said his reinstatement ‘goes against corporate ethics’, and served him a notice of dismissal. The reason for dismissal was a no-show, however, Sirotkina didn’t bother to explain how a no-show was possible if Khokhlov hadn’t even started working.

Sirotkina also gave Khokhlov a written demand to put in writing a statement on his no-show, together with a notice of dismissal, which was already signed. She didn’t bother to explain the purpose of the statement if he was already fired. Khokhlov comments, ‘This is too much of a mockery of both the law and common sense.’

ITUA says they will strive for Sirotkina’s dismissal, as gross violations of labour law are an acceptable tactic for her.

“Benteler management in Kaluga should be brought to justice for defying labour laws and trade union rights,“ said ITUA activist in Kaluga, Russia.

ITUA has launched a campaign in support of Dmitry Khokhlov on their website. To support the campaign available in Russian and English follow the link below http://mpra.info/campany/Lider-zabastovki-na-Bentelere-uvolen-vosstanovlen-i-vnov-uvolen-Pomogi-ostanovit-bespredel