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(en) Russia, Moscow, Report from seminar on situation of waged workers and strategies of resistance, held 17th of April in Russian Social Forum

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 26 Apr 2005 10:57:40 +0200 (CEST)

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Seminar was attended by representatives of Siberian Confederation of Labor,
Independent Miners' Union, International Union of Workers of Food and Tobacco
Industry, Agriculture, Hotel and Restaurant Services, Catering and Mixed
Industries (IUF), Network of Workplace Resistance (project of Autonomous Action*)
and movement "Alternatives". Seminar recognized several problems, connected with
specialties of working relations in Russia of today:
-Hiring workers as entrepreneurs. Such "entrepreneurs" do not owe small
businesses, but are used as a waged labor force on a contract basis. This
way, contract is not based on labor codex, but on civil codex, which falsely
considers entrepreneur-owner and entrepreneur-executioner as equal sides.

-"Black" labor, that is, without a written labor contract.
-Secret wages - this way enterprise does not pay taxes to social funds,
which is reflected in the level of welfare of the worker in case of a
sickness, as well as in decrease of the cumulative part in the pension fund.

-Growth of the incentive part of the wage, and decrease of the main part of
the wage - such approach allows employer to deprive substantial part of the
income of a worker. Participators of the seminar gave examples of such form
of wages in enterprises connected with harmful and very harmful conditions
of work. This is directly connected with unjustified intensification of
work, increase in cases of professional sicknesses and trauma.

-Temporary contracts instead of permanent contracts. For example contracts
of 2-3 months, where workers are fired after contract and are immediately
hired again according to new contract became an usual phenomena.

-Setting up subcontractor companies exclusively for sale of rightless
workforce. Such firms are not involved in any production whatsoever, but
only sell labor of waged workers to contractors which bear no any
responsibility of staff employed such way.

Current tendency of transformation of formerly relatively guaranteed working
relations to unguaranteed and unprotected is called "precarization", from
Latin word "prekar", which means unstable, temporary, standing on a sand.

A participator of the seminar from "Network of Working place Resistance" (a
project of Autonomous Action) told about a project "Antijob"
(www.antijob.nm.ru), to where a black list of employers who violate rights
of workers is hanged. Any internet user may submit information about his
employer. From time to time, some employers who found themselves in the
black list engage in an exchange with administration of the site, most of
time their attitude is "we are a private company, and relations in our
company will be as we consider necessary!"

Due to lack of time, participators of the seminar could only very briefly
look the question of founding unions in such workplaces. Example of Poland
was looked, where in practice unions in small and medium-size private
companies may exist only without a legal status. It was proposed to
establish unions on territorial, not by industrial basis in order to avoid
repression from side of the employers.

Participators decided to found a special e-mail list, which will go more
deeply to topics talked in the seminar. After seminar, this list (bad_job
ATT syndicalist DOTT ru) has been founded. In order to join, you should
write to info ATT syndicalist DOTT ru with subject line bad_job.

Vasiliy Starostin

Moderator of the seminar

Siberian Confederation of Labor
* [Autonomous Action is an ex-USSR anarcho-communist

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