Sacked union activist continues fighting for better working conditions at his enterprise
After Alexei Pavlovskiy, an activist of the REP Trade Union, addressed the Committee on Architecture and Construction of the Mogilyov Regional Executive Committee with a complaint about poor working conditions, the bosses of the Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) "Promzhilstroy" received a prescription to eliminate a number of violations. The first thing they did – they refused to extend the labour contract with the trade union activist. However, Alexei Pavlovskiy did not sit idling by. He checked how the prescription was followed.
On December 20, 2011, Alexei Pavlovskiy sent a collective application (of 15 persons) of the construction workers of the OJSC "Promzhilstroy", OJSC "Mogilyovtechmontazh", DSK (House-Building Combine) and other construction companies, engaged in building and construction works at the Limited Liability Company (LLC) "VMG Industry", erected with attraction of foreign investment. The application was sent to the above Committee on Architecture and Construction.
The workers demanded to take measures to ensure normal sanitary conditions: the workers' sheds had no wash stands with basins, dryers and places for taking meals, etc. Besides, the above building organizations did not index the wages and failed to provide additional vacations to workers for their work in hazardous conditions.
The first reaction of the bosses of the OJSC "Promzhilstroy" was a non-extension of the labour contract with Alexei Pavlovskiy. On January 21, the long-awaited answer signed by I. V. Mozharovskiy, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Construction and Architecture of the Mogilyov Regional Executive Committee, saying that a special sitting had been held on the fact of the complaint; and appropriate instructions were given to the general contractor and subcontractors to create the necessary conditions for workers.
Finally, the following measures were taken:
- The workers' sheds were put onto a concrete slab; and illumination was connected to them.
- At a selective inspection of the workers' sheds, inspectors found wash basins and drinking water in them.
- The OJSC "Mogilyovtechmontazh" has presented results of workers' attestation on labour conditions in professions "Assembler of building structures" and "Installer of process equipment" accompanied by the list of the workers, who had been acquainted with the attestation results.
- As a result of wage indexation of wages and losses from inflation, the employer must pay compensations in accordance with the due legal regulations.
After receiving this answer from state officials, Alexei decided to check whether this really was the case. It turned out that a couple of taps was really present in the shed, but they could not be used because of absence of sinks for water drainage.
Inspectors also found that workers must receive additional pay of 0.14 percent from the first category tariff. However, the Department No. 2 of the OJSC "Mogilyovtechmontazh" insists that the salary of Category 5 fitter-adjuster makes about 2 million roubles, no extra pay is assumed, while additional vacation days are granted only for the length of service.
On the issues of wage indexation and losses from inflation, inspectors took no actions and offered the workers to go to court.
"Violations of workers' rights are taking an unprecedented scale," said Nikolai Gerasimenko, the press secretary of the REP Trade Union. "Now, state officials offer the workers to go to court. But what will it bring? Our comrade Alexei Pavlovskiy tried to speak out against violations and lost his job. The reason for everything is in the notorious fixed-term contracts. Because of this slavery contract system, a worker cannot rely on protection of bureaucrats or the court. The conclusion is obvious: we should unite and fight against the system of fixed-term contracts; otherwise we are doomed to live in slavery in the 21st century."