News / 13.12.18

Court "didn't notice" discrimination of MTZ worker

Natalia Pisareva is the only operator with the lowest professional category at the plant – Category 3, which her bosses refuse to raise for four years already.

Natalia Pisareva, an operator at the Minsk Tractor Works (known as the MTZ), has applied for help to the REP Trade Union in early 2018. She is sure that the bosses are trying to squeeze her from the plant by any means.

"We can't dismiss her, so we'll force her to quit." MTZ operator Natalia Pisareva is paid half as much as her team colleagues

The Partizansky District Court of Minsk has considered the lawsuit lodged by Natalia Pisareva, demanding to liquidate discrimination in labour relations. The MTZ is the respondent to the lawsuit.

In her statement of claim, Ms Pisareva demanded from the MTZ to increase her professional category, remove her from the production complex team, collect from the employer the wage difference that has accrued for three months, starting from July 2018, and ensure safe working conditions.

The MTZ has four subdivisions, which have purification facilities, including the heat and power shop, where Natalia Pisareva works as an operator. Among all the similar MTZ operators, only Natalia has the lowest category – the third one – for four years already.

The court has found out that on January 30, 2018, a collective agreement was signed on the creation of a complex team, with which Pisareva was not acquainted. The witnesses, including the senior foreman of the shop bay, testified that the meeting as such was not held, and the signatures to the agreement were collected on the shift-to-shift basis. The agreement is accompanied by the protocol of the team meeting, which in reality was never held, according to which the rate of labour input of all the workers with Category 3 was set at 0.5. This scheme was approved by the shop head. However, the point is that the team was created for the complex performance of the work, regardless of the workers' categories.

Earlier, A. Suslenkov, the deputy director general of the MTZ for ideology, replied to Natalia Pisareva that the administration could not exclude her from the complex team. As it turned out, initially Natalia did not give her consent to be included into the team.

Within the four years, Ms Pisareva repeatedly asked her shop bosses to draw up all the documents to increase her professional category; however, they refused to do it, arguing that she failed to cope with her job duties.

At the trial, her colleagues were present – purification facility operators, who work with Pisareva; they all stated unanimously that they didn't want to work with her, because she failed to follow their instructions. Natalia cannot do all the work, because she has arthrosis and arthritis; she cannot physically climb a staircase 1.7 meters high. Instead of setting the ladder at an angle of 45 degrees, as required by the labour safety regulations, bosses resort to formal replies. All the operators, who work in tandem with Natalia, have Categories 4 or 5, and, accordingly, under the team agreement, can command Pisareva and escape doing "dirty work" themselves. If Natalia refuses to perform dangerous work, her colleagues write reports to the shop manager; who punishes Natalia by decreasing her wages. Natalia's average salary is 350 roubles, while other operators receive at least 2 times more. For reference: the average salary at the MTZ is over 1000 roubles.

"They squeeze me by all means": conflict of MTZ worker with her bosses

On December 6, the Partizansky District Court dismissed the lawsuit in full.

"We'll appeal to the Ministry of Labour with a demand to liquidate the discrimination of the MTZ worker," Yuri Belyakov, a legal inspector of the REP Trade Union, has commented on the situation.

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