News / 18.06.19

Discrimination by trade union membership? Team of MTZ painters asks bosses to solve their problems

Andrei Suslenkov, Deputy Director General for Ideology of the Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ trademark), promised a team of painters to study and solve their problems; instead, Natalia Demidova, a team council member, received the first reprimand for scrap.

For a long time, MTZ women-painters – all members of the REP Trade Union – for various reasons could not get an appointment with the above Mr Suslenkov. Finally, the meeting took place on April 11.

First of all, the painters raised their work issues that should be solved by their immediate managers (the shop and the bay foremen), saying that technological requirements are not always observed, and not through their fault. After painting, the Quality Control Dept (QCD) rejects a number of parts, because of surface defects; and the team has to repaint them several times, spending additional time and consumables – nobody pays them for repainting, even if the scrap happened not for the painter's fault.

MTZ workers-not members of "official" trade union threatened not to extend their labour contracts

Also, questions were asked that the team has no information about what their monthly payroll is made of, and the team council is unaware about how many painters are currently in the team, and who is included into it bypassing the council and why.

The regulations on a complex team, and the above team is a complex team of painters and transporters, provides for the establishment of the labour participation coefficient (LPC) for each member in each month. In practice, the LPC, defined by the team council, was subsequently personally corrected by the bay foreman, Ruslan Krivitsky. Any boss (shop or bay foreman) has the right to express his viewpoint about any team member contribution into the team's work, but the final LPC is a prerogative of the team council: the wages are defined based thereon.

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Moreover, the team itself should decide who goes to work on Saturdays and official holidays, which are paid at double rate; or extra days-off are provided as compensation. In reality, decisions were made by the foreman, who just put the team before the fact; from this, "favourites" and "unwanted" members appear, which should not be the case.

All of the above problems bring certain nervousness in the work of the team and hamper the normal production process. Most of the claims were addressed to the above Ruslan Krivitsky. When dealing with the women, who work in the team of painters, any boss should be not only demanding, but also correct, which the latter clearly lacks.

REP inspects labour conditions at MTZ

This was the first such meeting; and the painters hoped that after it there would be no unwarranted harassment and persecution for complaining to their bosses.

However, the practice turned out to be different. On April 29, the first remark from the QCD, allegedly for poor-quality painting was made to two team members, including Natalia Demidova, the team council member, who is constantly and uncompromisingly defending the team interests of the team. It turned out that paint thickness on some parts was below quality standards. However, to be objective: until now workers have no processes cards at their workplaces; and given a broad range of parts, it's impossible to remember everything. This is the mission of the foreman, who is present in the bay and directly controls the process and the quality. His duty is to timely prompt workers about the number of paint layers to be put on this or that part – after all, painters are at the conveyor, not in the laboratory; and it is not in their interest to make low-quality products. Then the natural question arises: was there any scrap at all, or was it the first attempt to put pressure on REP activists?

Court "didn't notice" discrimination of MTZ female worker

"I'd like to believe that this incident is just an occasion. Everyone should be interested in high product quality: workers, foremen, shop managers and the QCD. To achieve this, proper conditions should be in place for observing the technological process. We'll monitor the situation in Shop 91; and we'll treat any injustice and unjustified claims to our members, no matter who is initiator thereof, as discrimination based on union affiliation," Gennady Fedynich, the leader of the REP Trade Union, has emphasized.

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