At Pirogov Medical University, repressions have begun against an independent trade union

vtoroj_med.jpgThe 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.

Professors and activists of the union ‘University Solidarity’ have reported that they recently notified rector Andrei Kamkin about the establishment of their trade union organization.

At a January 9th meeting with the leaders of the trade union, the administration’s legal department expressed readiness to cooperate. However, by the next day, the dean of the Psychology and Sociology department, Nelly Snezhkova, voiced the unofficial position of the rector: “I have on the table a list of the founders, find a reason for their dismissal.”

Over the course of the next few days, some union members were forced to withdraw from the trade union, due to administrative pressure. In addition to requiring an application of withdrawal from ‘University Solidarity’, the faculty dean called for explanatory notes of repentance to be attached to the application.

Ms. Snezhkova, deciding for herself to speak for the entire staff of RNRMU, explained in an address to staff, all of whom have worked at the university for a long time, that “except for dirty tricks, you have not done anything…the department heads are receiving the task to look for new employees.” The university contends that “You all are not needed, our organization does not share your principles and values…” To the objection that people are being intimidated and therefore are not speaking truthfully, the Dean, alluding to the collected explanations, cynically claimed, “all my “collective” is in written form in a pile, and the truth is stated in every example”.

On January 13th, with the aim of “squeezing” the most persistent union members who had not yet succumbed to threats, the Dean required all staff of the Psychology and Sociology department to enter into a totalitarian slave work regime: all professors established individual schedules, according to which they are required to  “sit out” the entire 36 hour work week in their department, satisfying neither the norms of the workplace, nor hygienic-sanitation agreements. While this is tightening, it affected only one of the departments.

Meanwhile, due to the lack of properly equipped workplaces established in the university, the practice is that employees in the department can only be there while teaching and all other types of professional activity must be performed outside the university.

The deputy chairman of the university union organization, Julia Tchebakova, candidate of Psychological Sciences, assistant professor of clinical psychology, said, “the official position of the Rector on the persecution of trade union activists at Pirogov remains veiled. In a conversation with the chairman of our trade union, the Rector was laconic, limiting his remark to ‘we already have a union and a second one cannot be’. "It's the question of the great or small sacrifice - it can be you or the faculty" repeated Nelly N. Snezhkova the words of the Rector.”

“Trade union ‘University Solidarity’ does not intend to leave violations of trade union and labor rights unpunished,” says Trade Committee Chairman Alexey Parshukov, senior lecturer in general psychology and pedagogy, commenting on the current situation. “At the moment, with the support of the Confederation of Labor of Russia’s legal department, a lawsuit against the discrimination of union membership is being developed, and collective action and protests are being prepared.”

Contact information:  
+7 916 180-13-28 (Pavel Kudiukin, one of  joint presidents ‘University Solidarity’ Trade Union)

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