Trade Unions call for the revision of draft Labour Code

Labour Russia on the Net, 24 March 2000

A new draft of the Labour Code will be placed before the state Duma for consideration in May 2000. One of three versions, which were worked out by different working groups, will be submitted for this consideration. The inter-fraction parliamentary group Solidarnost, which is formed by trade union leaders elected to the State Duma, discussed the draft on March 15.

At the meeting it was pointed out that all three versions were worked out without any participation of trade union representatives and have a lot of serious shortcomings. Even the fundamental demand for the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour is insufficiently developed in the Labour Code. Besides this a lot of rights of working people and social guarantees are ignored. In comparison with the Soviet-era Labour Code, which is still currently in force, the new draft will give employers more opportunities to dismiss workers. There are no guarantees and compensations for those who work in difficult conditions in the North, Far East and Siberia regions. The draft Labour Code limits trade union rights to represent workers in state structures. Implementation of the new Code will cancel the obligation of firms to provide workers organisations with office space and other necessary capacities for maintaining trade union work at the company level.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) is campaigning against the adoption of this version of the Code. From the point of view of FNPR and its affiliated unions this draft gives employers the way to get super profits by means of cutting down the cost of labour and increasing exploitation.

Earlier this year FNPR suggested to the Government of the Russian Federation that they should form a federal commission for the revision of the draft Labour Code. In the opinion of FNPR, representatives of legislative, executive and judicial authorities, trade unions and employers' organisations, major scientific and educational institutions have to be involved in this commission's work to create a new version that would enshrine in legislation the fundamental rights of workers.