Friday, March 28, 2008

In the "cowboy capitalism" of Russia today where the state bureaucracy relentlessly engulfs the "commanding heights" of the economy the new ruling class leaves the average worker as prey for the most avaricious of foreign companies. These companies get away with things there that they never would in countries where the balance of rulers is more settled, simply because the new managers of Russia see no need to have even the pretense of caring for "the worker" anymore. An example is documented below, and the IUF calls on people from across the world to stand in solidarity with Nestlé workers in Perm. To read more and join this campaign see below or go to the IUF website.
Support Russian Nestlé Workers' Right to Negotiate Wages!
A full four months after the IUF-affiliated Nestlé Perm Workers Union first demanded a substantial wage increase for the almost 1000 workers at the Kitkat candy and confectionary plant, Nestlé Russia still denies bona fide wage bargaining. The union is now calling for international protest action in order to highlight the right to wage negotiations as a basic workers right.
At a protest rally in Perm on March 22, workers declared their support for the union's demand of a 21,5% wage increase from Jan. 1. Workers are not prepared to accept the wage increase decreed unilaterally by management nor to be a party to the bad faith negotiations forced upon them by Nestle Perm management.
As reported earlier (> Nestlé Russia tells workers "We don't negotiate wages"), Nestle had denied wage negotiations for several months, contending that wages were not subject to collective bargaining at all. After a collective labour dispute was declared, and an OECD complaint was filed against Nestlé for violation of basic workers rights, the company changed its strategy from one of refusing to one of constantly delaying negotiations. Up to now, no concrete new proposal for a wage increase has been received from management.
At the protest rally held in the centre of the city of Perm on Saturday, March 22, more than 200 participants demonstrated their refusal to put up with Nestlé’s postponement game any longer. It became abundantly clear that the company’s hope of placating the workers by handing them a 15% wage increase had not been realised. No wonder – this does not even cover the official inflation rate of over 16% in the region in 2007. “We need a real wage increase now” speakers declared at the meeting “Many of us donate blood regularly, as we can’t make ends meet with the salaries we get”.
The protest rally in the centre of Perm attracted more than 200 participants. As management has declared on several occasions that final decisions are taken not in Perm, but in Moscow or even at Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland, the union will take the protest beyond Perm. On Tuesday, March 25, a demonstration will be held in front of Nestlé Russia headquarters in central Moscow with the support of the Agricultural Workers Union of Russia and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR).
IUF General Secretary Ron Oswald commented – “Nestlé is responsible for ensuring that trade union rights, including the right to bona fide wage negotiations, are respected in every single factory and worksite. A global corporation may not shirk such obligations by attempting to dictate terms and conditions unilaterally. The right to wage negotiations is a fundamental workers right – everywhere!”
Support Nestle Perm workers in their struggle for the right to wage negotiations!
Copies will be automatically sent to the IUF secretariat.

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