Aeroflot may have been the official carrier of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics which ended yesterday, but its pilots are being left out in the cold following a long-standing dispute between their union and the management. Russia’s biggest airline carrier is under intense pressure from labour rights groups who say the company is putting passengers’ lives at risk by refusing to listen to the safety concerns of pilots.

An employment dispute between Russia’s largest airline and an outspoken union leader has highlighted a sharpening confrontation between pilots and Russia’s air carriers over how to deal with a chronic shortage of qualified fliers.

The administration of N. Pirogov's Russian National Research Medical University (RNRMU) has unleashed repression against trade union workers of a union of higher education, called ‘University Solidarity’. Under threat of dismissal, professors are being forced to withdraw from the union.

As part of a global ITUC campaign, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady has sent the following letter to the Russian Ambassador in London. The TUC is also supporting a LabourStart action aimed at Aeroflot executives.

While trade union ShPLS representing pilots of biggest Russian airline AEROFLOT is in the midst of bitter fighting for a CBA, three of its leaders are arrested on 18 and 20 October 2013 as a result of a provocation. We call on you to tell AEROFLOT: no more pressure and victimization! CBA with the ShPLS now!

In both Soviet and more recent times, Russia’s trade unions have tended to be an arm of the regime, but Grigory Tumanov argues that a growing independent movement is becoming a significant force in the country.

At the end of November 2013 the union of workers hired in the enterprises of ‘Unilever Rus’ in Omsk region demanded from ‘Unilever’ to begin the negotiation between the union and the employer on the wage increase.The management does not reject the indexing but it rejected the negotiation with the union on the wage increase (more than inflation rate) and the agreement with the union.

In Russia, nobody is surprised by stories of corruption. Neither is there anything new about the way officials accused of bribery and embezzlement easily escape punishment. Sometimes they keep up appearances by simply switching job titles, while lecturing Russians on spiritual values, morality and patriotism.

On 10 December, Human Rights Day, national and global union organizations together with the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia and web resource LabourStart launched a campaign for release of seven oil workers held in custody since 2012.

Two years after the December 16, 2011 shocking massacre of striking oil workers in Kazakhstan, seven activists remain in jail. Support LabourStart campaign today!

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