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Metalworkers face union busting in Russia

13 November, 2014Russian pipeline fittings manufacturer, OAO Turbodetal, is getting rid of union activists trying to negotiate better pay and working conditions at its production plant in Chelyabinsk. 

The Turbodetal workers, who are members of IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the Miners and Metallurgical Workers’ Union, are planning a protest action in the city of Chelyabinsk on 22 November to prevent the company from destroying the union at the factory.

For more than a year now, the union has been trying to negotiate with the Turbodetal management over the problem of underpaid workers holding more than one position and the increase in the cost-of-living. Tired of fruitless talks, workers called for a general assembly on 17 October in which they demanded to be compensated for working more than one job and better pay to cover inflation.

As a consequence the factory management has set out to bust the union. According to the union committee, factory supervisors have received instructions on how to force workers to withdraw from their trade union. The supervisors and team leaders themselves have been threatened with having their bonuses cut or stopped if they fail to persuade workers to leave the union.

There are over 2000 workers at the factory, some 1100 used to be members of the union. As the result of the union busting, around 200 workers have withdrawn from the union.

At the same time, the company has blocked ten employees from work, denying them access to the factory and consequently the possibility to participate in their union work. All ten had pronounced their support of the union’s demands during the general assembly.

The Miners and Metallurgical Workers’ Union is appealing to all trade union members and organizations to support the Turbodetal workers who are fighting for the independence of their union in the face of interference from the company.