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Russian unions mobilize for better wages

4 September, 2013Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), an IndustriALL affiliate, and several other Russian unions affiliated to the Confederation of Labour of Russia launched a campaign “Wages must rise!”

On 31 August and 1 September unions in twelve Russian cities mobilized for better wages. The campaign “Wages must rise!” was launched by the Confederation of Labour of Russia.

ITUA brought Ford and Antolin workers to the rally in Saint-Petersburg. The participants of the rally demanded regular wage adjustment and clear rules on wage indexation in the Russian Labour Code.

In Kaluga the ITUA mobilized workers of Volkswagen, Benteler and other plants on a demonstration on 1 September.

“Clearly the workers face the problem of defending their own interests, of organizing unions, and now, in the pre-crisis period, the situation is more serious than ever. In times when measures such as partial abandonment of Labour Code are tried and tested, the choice is tough – to resist or to be crushed completely,” said Dmitry Kozhnev, an ITUA activist in Kaluga.

“The issue of wage adjustment is vital. When wages at some Kaluga factories are raised according to inflation figures by 7 per cent in the beginning of the year, but then prices and basic utilities go up 8-15 per cent, communities are simply pillaged by financial and industrial elites,” added Kozhnev.

The campaign takes place in the context of G20 summit in Saint-Petersburg, which is about to begin on 5 September. The unions demand fair wage adjustment, better balance between permanent and variable part in wages, and stricter sanctions for employers who refuse to sign formal work contracts.