Nikolai Minkov, a member of the REP Trade Union, a construction superintendent, found that he was illegally deprived of his salary, and went to court; the employer admitted his fault.
Nikolai works at a Gomel-based road-building company. About half a year ago, his team was building a highway ring crossing near the city of Svetlogorsk, and one of the construction machines broke a "Beltelecom" cable. Nikolai explained that the cable was laid at a depth much smaller than the standard prescribes; besides, it was buried into the mound of the existing highway, which was against the regulations.
Six months later, when Nikolai received his pay slip, he found that a significant sum was deducted from his salary. He was told at the accounting division that it was done on director's order: "The director has recollected the damaged cable and decided, half a year later, to deduct money from my salary, without my consent and without an application... Then, I applied to the independent REP Trade Union and joined it. They helped me to write a complaint to the Labour Dispute Commission. However, the Commission ruled that I was wrong; and they continued to withdraw money from me."
Then, Leonid Sudalenko, the legal inspector of the REP Trade Union for the Gomel Region, drafted a lawsuit on behalf of Nikolai Minkov. This helped to defend the worker's rights:
"I filed the lawsuit, and as soon as my bosses were summoned to the trial, they turned to their lawyer; he figured out the situation; said that the bosses were wrong; and I received my money back," said Nikolai.
Leonid Sudalenko noted that the REP Trade Union is satisfied with the outcome of the case: "We have here an obvious illegal retention of wages – without a court judgement and under an alleged, unproved damage. We followed the procedure of pre-trial dispute settlement, and the employer, fortunately, didn't want to bring the case to the court and immediately fulfilled all the claims stated in the lawsuit. The REP Trade Union did everything to settle the dispute without litigation."