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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 07/24/2012 - 15:46

Heineken union leaders taken to hospital; hunger strike suspended

AIWU’s Vitaliy Morozov and Solidarnost’s Sergey Kollegov were taken to hospital on 20 July night after 4 days of dry hunger strike. They demand cease of employer’s repressions against workers who went on strike on 15 December 2011 and their own reinstatement. Both local unions’ chairs were unfairly dismissed in the end of January 2012.

AIWU’s Vitaliy Morozov and Solidarnost’s Sergey Kollegov were taken to hospital on 20 July night after 4 days of dry hunger strike. They demand cease of employer’s repressions against workers who went on strike on 15 December 2011 and their own reinstatement. Both local unions’ chairs were unfairly dismissed in the end of January 2012.

Morozov and Kollegov started their hunger strike and put a tent at brewery gates last Monday. The conflict between unions and Heineken management in St.-Petersburg has a long history and is rooted in the excessive use of agency labour on the site that employer turned also into a weapon against the union. Activists got gradually fired or moved to a night shift while their former jobs were outsourced to a number of agencies and subcontractors. After 2 years of this practice some shifts accounted more than a half of workforce being employed via any kind of intermediary. This was added by changes in the system of shifts and work-time accounting which lead to great overtimes mostly not paid.

Unions representing brewery workers constantly called management to enter talks on the matter but were always refused any meaningful discussion. 10 November 2011 workers went on a warning one hour strike, followed by a one day strike on 15 December. No talks started; instead number of strikers was punished by disciplinary actions. To protest this Morozov and Kollegov went on hunger strike on 12 January 2012 but suspended it after 5 days as management promised to start negotiation. Meanwhile the Labour Inspection ruled disciplinary actions against strikers were illegal. But Heineken never entered into negotiations with the union and never fulfilled demands of the labour Inspection. The same month, Morozov and Kollegov were dismissed.