Russia's Supreme Court Requires To Review Svetlana Medvedeva Case

Svetlana Medvedeva, Seafarers' Union of RussiaRussia's Supreme Court satisfied the Medvedeva cassational appeal on July 24, 2017. The Court sent a case involving a claim by Svetlana Medvedeva against Samara River Passenger Company (SRPP) for a new trial. Svetlana Medvedeva has made the attempts getting the permission to work in her motorman-helmsman specialization for the last five years.

“Many things have been changed over the last 6 months: I switched a job and completed an advanced 110kW and over air-cushion craft engineer courses. An issued certificate enables me to get an engineer certificate for the working on ships of the first group but, first of all, I should undergo the motorman's practice. As you know if you want to become a good engineer, you should work in motorman position,” Svetlana Medvedeva says. “Therefore, I and my lawyer Dmitry Bartenev decided to appeal to the Russian Supreme Court.”

Svetlana Medveda faced the challenges during her employment in 2012. At the time she didn't succeed in her attempts to get a work in Samara River Passenger Company. When Svetlana got a refusal in her training, she decided to fight for her rights and she sent a letter to the Internet Reception of the Russian President. Her letter had been addressed to the Labour Ministry of Russia. The department made its clear that woman can be employed on the work included in the List of harmful work, if an employer would make safety working conditions confirmed by workplace assessment. Medvedeva appealed to the court to place SRPP under obligation to provide the required conditions of work for women. However, the district and regional courts took the employer's side and dismissed her claim. Medvedeva reached out to the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) and the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial (ADC Memorial) in 2012 and with their support she filed a complaint to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Her case was considered in March 2016. The members of the Committee took the Svetlana's side and brought a range of recommendations to the government of the Russian Federation as a state member of the UN. But this step didn’t meet any reaction from the employer or the government.

“Getting a support, we tried to call back rulings, but we got a refusal on the ground that the decision adopted by the UN Committee didn't have the binding force and it couldn't be the reason for the case review,” Svetlana Medvedeva tells. “The Supreme Court didn't agree with this position yesterday and set aside the judgments. The Court required to review the case and took into account the position of the UN Committee.”

The SUR, on its part, made the attempts to draw the Labour Ministry's attention to the List of Heavy Work and Work in Harmful or Dangerous Conditions in which the Employment of Women is Prohibited and the problems associated with it. The List restricts women rights to labour and self-realization in chosen profession. Consequently, the union adopted the resolution titled On Violation of Women's Right to Labour in Chosen Occupation and Profession and Possibility of Women's Employment as Crew Members of River and Marine Fleet during its 8th Congress. The resolution laid the foundation of the SUR's address to the Russian Ministry of Labour and to the Chairman of the Government Dmitry Medvedev.

It was reported later that on March 8, 2017 Dmitry Medvedev approved the National Strategy of Actions for Women 2017-2022. It included the questions arisen by the SUR. However, there was no word about any specific measures or promised review of ill-fated List.

“The only safe guess is that the National Strategy for Women adopted by Dmitry Medvedev doesn't have any impact on me. The problems in practical training and employment of women didn't disappear anywhere,” Svetlana Medvedeva says.

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