News / 09.07.18

"Your unwillingness to work is no reason to fire you": how trade networks would not let workers out

Today, a large part of appeals to the REP Trade Union are requests to help people to quit the workplace. Yuri Belyakov, a lawyer of the REP Trade Union, speaks about his experience of negotiating with employers.

Earlier this year, the REP Trade Union helped the seller-cashier Elena Koleda to get dismissed by agreement of the parties from the "Evroopt" Trading Network. Then (after several articles posted on the website, her bosses satisfied the woman's demand and even presented her with a microwave oven.

"You can I divorce with your husband, but not with your employer": why cannot one quit the "Evroopt"

"Your article is one-sided": "Evroopt" has appointed a meeting with REP Trade Union

This April, Andrei Zhvirko, another cashier of the "Evroopt", was dismissed by his bosses after the REP's lawyer had a talk with them.

Is it hard to get dismissed from a network supermarket?

However, employers are not always ready to dismiss an employee, working under contract, by using provisions of the labour legislation. This virtual inability to quit was recognized by the ILO as forced labour.

"Forced labour for salary that does not suit worker is a new slavery in modern Belarus"

Elena Targonskaya, the production head at the "Evroopt", has addressed the REP Trade Union from the town of Starye Dorogi: she wants to move to Minsk – her husband's place of residence and work. She filed two applications for dismissal: by agreement of the parties, and under Article 41 of the Labour Code (because of resettlement to husband's residence). However, Denis Zelenukho, Personnel Director, refused to dismiss Elena.

"An early termination of contract by parties' agreement is possible only in case of reaching a mutual agreement. [...] Your resignation application is a unilateral declaration of will. Thus, no parties' agreement has been reached," says the answer of "Evroopt" to Elena Targonskaya. The company did not regard her husband's move to Minsk as a sufficient ground for dismissal:

"The contract is subject to early termination on the demand of an employee in case of valid reasons, which must be confirmed by documents, while the validity of reasons is estimated by the employer. The temporary registration certificate at your husband's residence contains no information to confirm your intention to change your residence and cannot serve as a valid reason preventing you from performing your labour duties."

Yuri Belyakov, a REP's legal inspector, had a talk to Denis Zelenukho, who said that Elena Targonskaya would still be dismissed on June 26. The lawyer immediately phoned the "Evroopt" director in Starye Dorogi, who said that he knew nothing about Elena's forthcoming dismissal.

"The issue of her dismissal is in suspended status. We hope that 'Evroopt' bosses will still dismiss the woman who wishes to join her husband," the union legal inspector has concluded.

Andrei Rogov, a security at the "Belmarket" store, has faced a similar problem: he is unable to quit for a month already. At first, his dismissal date was agreed upon with the "Belmarket" personnel boss. However, on the following day, he changed his mind and refused to dismiss Rogov.

"In Andrei's case, the employer has violated the labour legislation; therefore, we submitted al application to the Department of the State Labour Inspectorate. The 'Belmarket' managers still have time to change their decision and get out of the situation with the least losses. Otherwise, they will have to pay Rogov by three monthly average salaries more than required by Article 41 of the Labour Code," Yuri Belyakov has explained.

The only recent case, when the union lawyer managed to agree with the employer on dismissal without problems was the dismissal Elena Yarotskaya, a saleswoman at a "Rublyovsky" store that belongs to the Joint LLC "Belinterprodukt".

Elena found a better paid job next to her home; she asked her store managers to dismiss her, but they even refused to take her application. Then, she turned to the REP Trade Union. After the talks held by Yuri Belyakov, the administration agreed to voluntarily terminate her labour contract from June 30, 2018.

"Unfortunately, today in 80 percent of cases, people turn to me as a union lawyer with a request to facilitate their dismissal from workplaces. As a rule, state-owned enterprises terminate contracts with their workers on their own initiative, which can not be said about trade networks. In the case of Elena Yarotskaya, the company bosses even offered to add BYN 40 to her salary just to preserve her at the store," Yuri Belyakov said. "However, we can note a positive trend in the labour market: people are not afraid to lose their jobs and are looking for better ones. I express my personal gratitude to the managers of Elena's 'Rublyovsky' network for their readiness to help the woman without bringing the case to court."

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