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!

The ITUC is requesting Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene in the case of three Aeroflot pilots who were accused by the company of trying to extort money from it during a dispute over overtime compensation. A Russian court recently ordered Aeroflot to pay more than 1bn Roubles as compensation for overtime and night-work already done by pilots.

The “justice for Kazakhstan oil workers” campaign was the central focus of a conference of independent trades union activists, socialists and human rights campaigners from across the former Soviet Union at the weekend.

The largest trade unions, Confederation of Labour of Russia (KTR) and Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR), oppose the Russian labour law for the 2018 World Cup, which would deprive tens of thousands of Russian and migrant workers of basic legal protections covering working hours, overtime and its remuneration, weekend and night work and a range of other standards. The law, which was adopted by the Russian Duma this summer, would apply until the end of 2018 and effectively allow FIFA and its partners, including Russian and multinational companies, to set working conditions outside the framework of Russian law.

A serious discussion has erupted after the contents of the notorious “2018 World Cup Law” (or FZ-108, for short) were revealed to the general public. The focus of the discussion has been the consequences of removing restrictions on employing migrant laborers and the possibility of their runaway exploitation if the law’s clauses on voluntary contracts (which place them beyond the reach of a number of articles in the Labor Code) are enforced. However, the people most threatened by FZ-108 are Russian citizens.

As pilots and flight assistants of Russia's flag-carrying airline strive to get a raise from their employer for night flights and harmful working conditions, a lack of qualified personnel amid double-digit growth in passenger numbers has been revealed as a major problem.

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