Last weekend Inter-regional Trade Union of Automobile Industry workers (ITUAI) decided to lead a joint struggle for workers’ rights.
“It’s for the first time in the history of Russian automobile industry that several trade unions of big automobile plants have united and started carrying out joint struggle. This is our trade solidarity”, proudly said Ford plant’s Trade Union leader Alexey Etmanov.
ITUAI was founded in 2006. First, it embraced trade unions of Ford, GM Autovaz and Unity (a trade union for Autovaz). Then tire-making plant Nokia Tayers and trade union of Renault plant named Autoframos joined the association.
The reason of joint action this time was the strike at the Autovaz and further dismissal of its several participants (see #59, 60 and 63 of the Novaya Gazeta). Delegates expressed solidarity with the Autovaz workers and confirmed their readiness for joint action. The meeting’s participants agreed to act together in their demand for pay rise for workers in the car industry. “While the plants’ managements have European standard salaries, the wages of workers allow only physical survival under conditions of sweated exploitation,” the approved statement of the meeting says.
“The situation with wages at the plants of Russian automobile industry is deplorable today,” the chair of All-Russian Confederation of Trade Unions Boris Kravchenko says. “For example, average wage at Ford is 25,000 roubles (it’s less than $1,000), and at Autovaz it is just shameful – from 7,000 to 10,000 roubles (about 300-400$)”. Boris Kravchenko was the author of joint statement of ITUAI mentioned above.
“Members of ITUAI are planning to start detailed discussion of each plant’s economic program separately” Etmanov says. “Then, having formulated and justified our requirements, we will proceed to the next stage – to the talks with plants’ managers. The situation is complicated with the fact that no association of the Russian car industry owners exists. So we will have to work with everyone separately. Due to that, the whole process is likely to take as long as six months at best”.
“As of today, ITUAI consists of 5 branches with general number of members being about 3,000 people. But we have good potential for growth, as automobile industry is the large one in Russia. Our future task is to create and unite trade unions at most plants. So this is just a beginning” the leader of GM Autovaz Andrei Lapin says.
Reference by the Novaya
At present, 15 enterprises exist in the car-producing market in Russia. These are Autovaz, Gaz, Ijauto, Uaz, Kamaz, Roslada, Seaz, GM Autovaz, Ford, Tagaz, Autotor, Autoframos, AMO Zil, and Autoplant Ural. Only five of them have actively working and independent trade unions.