News / 27.08.19

"Cars without technical inspection, invented posts and salary delays": "Viamignis" drivers turn to REP Trade Union

Drivers of the "Viamignis" LLC demand from the employer to respond for violations of working conditions. The company car fleet has over 20 vehicles, of which 18 have no technical examination certificates. No one checks the drivers' health before they start working; and while transporting people, including high-ranking clients, the employer has ordered them to conceal the fact that neither passengers nor drivers had been insured against accidents.

The drivers want to quit, but because of numerous violations they don't agree to be dismissed under "parties' mutual consent."

"They promised transfer routes across Belarus and CIS, but in fact we worked like a regular taxi"

"I came to work for this company in October 2018. The vacancy ad indicated that they needed a driver for transfer trips around the country and the CIS with the functions of a personal driver for high-ranking officials. I was very impressed by this description," said Vladimir Mekhovich, one of the employees of the "Viamignis" LLC.

"I thought it was a solid company; earlier, I worked as an individual entrepreneur-taxi driver. The company advertises itself primarily as a carrier; at the interview they told me that in order to keep the cars working drivers were free to work under the 'Yandex taxi' platform during their free time (when there are no orders). In fact, it turned out the opposite – transfer trips were very seldom; and the main work as a regular taxi through the 'Yandex taxi'."

After several months of work, Vladimir and several other drivers were appointed team heads, others were offered position of mechanics.

"Cars went out to routes without inspection; drivers – without being examined by a health professional"

"A little later, also nominally and without any documents, I became the head of the motor column. My duties included the drivers' admission to work and release of cars to routes. Since I had already worked as a taxi driver, I knew that drivers should undergo regular medical examinations, while cars must be checked by a mechanic prior to releasing on the route. All this must be done by specially trained people. But there was nothing of the kind at the 'Viamignis'. Meanwhile, the training course of the issuing controller conducted by the Ministry of Transports costs just BYN 70; however, the employer stubbornly ignored our requests to send us for training."

"I repeatedly told about all violations to Director, Ruslan Voitov. I told that these were laws; they must be followed; besides, the passengers' and drivers' safety depends on this."

"You know nothing; I'll teach you how to work," the boss replied.

Initially, Ruslan Zhuravlyov also came to work at the "Viamignis" as a driver:

"A few months later, the employer said that we needed mechanics, and since I had experience of working at a service station; I love and know how to work with vehicles; and I agreed to a new position. I saw the order on appointing me as a mechanic only on a computer monitor. Often, I had to prove to the bosses that cars were in poor condition and needed repairs. Not to mention that out of 24 cars, 18 were without technical inspection. None of the bosses was particularly concerned about timely technical maintenance; I had to personally run around looking for spare parts in order to release cars to routes in proper condition; I not always succeeded. There are cars in the company that cannot be allowed to work at all."

"Several times I went to the traffic police and paid the fines imposed for operating cars without technical inspection. As a responsible person, I took all these fines on myself; the employer later compensated my expenses. Wasn't it easier to undergo the state technical examination and forget about it? The money I paid as fines could cover at least two technical inspections. I've put more than one report about the catastrophically poor technical condition of the car fleet on the boss' table," said Ruslan.

"There were delays with wage payments"

Since March this year, workers had delays with wage payments – for five, and sometimes for fifteen days.

"Despite the catastrophic condition of the car fleet and various violations, until February, wages and bonuses were paid in time. The employer's position is very strange – payments are made not in traditional two instalments, but in three or four. This was argued by the fact that the company allegedly made no profits. Besides, they don't give us our payslips; accordingly, I can't control my working hours. In May, the wage payment was significantly delayed; this was the last drop for many workers," said Vladimir Mekhovich, another driver.

"Everyone who came to work for this company was attracted by the promise of stable earnings. People have to payback loans; they rent housing and expect to be timely and adequately paid for their work," said Ruslan Zhuravlyov, now working as a company mechanic.

Yuri Belyakov, a lawyer of the REP Trade Union, helped the drivers in drawing up statements of claim to the court:

"The drivers' main demand was to dismiss them under Article 41 of the Labour Code, that is, 'because of the essential aggravation of their legal status', which obliges the employer to pay them three their average monthly wages. We also sent an application to the Transport Inspectorate with a request to hold a check and oblige the employer to eliminate all the revealed violations. It is worth noting that at hiring, none of the drivers had passed the initial safety briefing, and subsequently, they never underwent the required regular safety instructions. The above facts indicate that the company bosses are completely ignoring the safety standards for their workers and passengers. Only part of the cars are insured against accidents and damage caused to third persons. It's a good reason for customers to think on the reasons to use the services of such a carrier."

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