News / 05.06.18

Sergey Vechorsky: "We went to court to collect our debts, but the judge ruled that we're debtors"

The team of roofers has filed a cassation appeal against the ruling of the Moscow District Court of Minsk. On May 2, Judge Svetlana Smolina partially satisfied the roofers' claims, but thee were not satisfied with the judgement.

See our previous publication about this case: "We're working, and they wouldn't pay. What should we live for?": a team of roofers has turned to the REP Trade Union; Scandal: team of roofers leaves the courtroom in protest and Has state-owned trust exploited slaves?

In their cassation, the roofers ask to cancel the judgment because the judge failed to fully consider the claims; the judge's conclusions mismatch the established facts; and the ruling has inaccuracies and errors.

Sergey Vechorsky, the team leader, told the about the reasons that led the workers to the court:

"We worked from August to December 2017, and in January-February 2018, under job contracts; and, of course, we had pre-defined the cost of works: about BYN 100,000. In the process, additional works appeared; and in late December, Boris Goronkov, our customer from the 'Beltransstroy' Trust, brought job contracts to us for November, which we refused to sign, as the indicated sums were unrealistically understated. Later, these November contacts appeared at trial with forged signatures; all my teammates stated that the signatures were forged. However, the court refused, for unknown reasons, to conduct a handwriting examination. As a result, the customer tried to close our works for the past four months (November-February) with contracts under fake signatures."

"It turns out that the employer failed to conclude job contracts with you every month, as required by law, didn't he?"

"Yes, he failed. The customer – the Minsk Engine Plant (MMZ) – stated at the trial that the sum of BYN 72,000 was transferred to out company on April 19, 2018, but we, the workers, haven't got a penny."

"Has the court established where this money went?"

"The court hasn't even tried to establish it. I read the judgement of Judge Smolina and believe that she ignored Presidential Decree No. 314 on protecting the rights of citizens who work under job contracts. The decree clearly states: if the contract is not concluded, the employer is guilty. The judge has ruled that some team members should receive BYN 500, but others should not. Judge Smolina made recalculations for me; and it turned out that I, after working 12 hours a day, doing the hardest work on the roof, still owe BYN 4000 to the company that hired us – the 'Beltransstroy' Trust."

"What are you going to do next?"

"We've already filed a cassation appeal to the Moscow District Court. It turned out that the MMZ had contracted the 'Beltransstroy' under one condition: all the works should have been performed by the workforce of the trust, without inviting a team of roofers from outside. That is why they didn't want to sign job contracts with us, and then faked them aiming to deceive us by paying pennies, while the customer (MMZ) has paid at least BYN 150.000 for our work. Let now investigators try to find the money."

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