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IndustriALL and RCWU take action at Bashneft in Moscow

14 February, 2013IndustriALL regional office staff in Moscow, Russia, took part in a picket on 12 February outside Bashneft office. The action was organized by Russian Chemical Workers’ Union (RCWU), as Bashneft refuses to negotiate with RCWU locals in Orenburg and Ufa, trying to replace them with management-controlled Labour Councils.

The picket is part of the larger campaign of protest against the attack on RCWU locals. Moscow city authorities allowed only five people to take part in a picket. This small group took action outside Bashneft office during one hour on 12 February. However, many more people came to support the action. The protesters kept changing over so that other people from the group of RCWU activists standing at some distance from the picket could joing the protest.

Soon after reorganization in October 2012 when the companies Bashkirnefteproduct in Ufa and Orenburgnefteproduct in Orenburg became part of the parent company Bashneft, the management refused to renegotiate a collective agreement with the RCWU locals and challenged their right to collective bargaining.

Due to threats and pressure from the management, hundreds of workers left RCWU locals both in Ufa and Orenburg. In response RCWU rallied in both cities and launched a national solidarity campaign.

Thanks to the support from IndustriALL Global Union, this solidarity campaign became international in scope. IndustriALL General Secretary Jyrki Raina sent a letter to the Bashneft top managers, urging them to withdraw from anti-union tactics and engage in good-faith negotiations with the union.

More than 1,300 people sent letters of protest to Bashneft management via TAKE ACTION form on IndustriALL website.

The situation is still tense both in Orenburg and Ufa. Bashneft management refused to meet with RCWU leaders on 4 February.

After the picket Alexander Sitnov, RCWU president, stated, "We will continue to fight for our rights. We hope that Bashneft managers will hear us."

If the situation doesn’t change and Bashneft management doesn’t withdraw its anti-union policies, both RCWU and IndustriALL will put more pressure on the employer.