Head of ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities: Meetings in Moscow

In late March, a delegation of the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) headed by Maria Helena Andre, ACTRAV Director, visited the Russian Federation. The programme of the visit included participation in international trade union fora, meetings with heads of trade union associations and staff of the ILO Moscow Office.

News | 02 April 2018
On March 26—27, 2018 the fourth conference “Freedom of Association and the Rights of Trade Unions in the Russian Federation: the Current State and Prospects” took place in Moscow. The conference was organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Russian Labour Confederation (KTR), Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FITUR).

In opening the conference, the FITUR Chairman Mikhail Shmakov underlined that an effective system of tripartite partnership between executive authorities, employers and workers was put in place in Russia. Regretfully, compliance with legal provisions protecting trade union rights was not adequate, with a number of cases of discrimination against trade unions at enterprises being reported.

In her presentation, Maria Helena Andre, Director of the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities, noted that where governments did not understand the role played by trade unions, it would be trade unions’ duty to make them aware of it. “It is important to support the ILO format and that of social dialogue as a whole, and always buttress them with real actions to strengthen the rights of waged workers”, Maria Helena Andre said.

The KTR Chairman Boris Kravchenko identified the purpose of the conference as “measuring current practices of social and labour relations against the yardstick of international standards”. He gave examples of obstructing trade union activities and putting pressure on trade unions in Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In discussing trade union activities worldwide, the ITUC/PERC Executive Secretary Anton Leppik noted a trend for destruction of the democratic principles and growing antagonisms between employers and waged workers.

In the final statement adopted by the conference, the Russian participants declared that it was necessary to work towards reversal of unlawful court judgments, provision of guarantees of compliance with ILO conventions, and introduction of stricter liability for violation of trade union law, primarily regarding discrimination on the grounds of trade union membership.

On March 30, 2018 the 4th International Research Conference “Social and Labour Conflicts in Russia and Worldwide” initiated by the FITUR and involving the ILO took place at the Saint-Petersburg Humanities University of Trade Unions (SPHUTU).

The conference sought to identify optimal mechanisms for settling and preventing major social conflicts in the world of work by developing social partnership.

Maria Helena Andre, Director of ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities, Olga Kulaeva, Director of the ILO Moscow Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Kari Tapiola, Special Advisor to the ILO Director-General, and others addressed the participants on behalf of the International Labour Organization.

Panel discussions involved major specialists and researchers associated with the RAS, training institutions and centers for research of labour conflicts, heads of a number of territorial and sectoral trade unions of Russia, as well as trade union associations of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, France.