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Beerworkers Archive


Post date: 01/23/2012 - 14:09

Heineken workers on hunger strike for meaningful negotiations

For over three years, workers of Heineken brewery in St-Petersburg and their unions affiliated to the IUF's Agro-Industrial Workers Union of Russia and Union of Food, Tobacco, Services and Allied Workers "Solidarnost" have been seeking negotiations to limit the extent of agency labour on the site and manipulation with the work time calculation which leads to almost no overtime being paid.

For over three years, workers of Heineken brewery in St-Petersburg and their unions affiliated to the IUF's Agro-Industrial Workers Union of Russia and Union of Food, Tobacco, Services and Allied Workers "Solidarnost" have been seeking negotiations to limit the extent of agency labour on the site and manipulation with the work time calculation which leads to almost no overtime being paid.

But Heineken keeps refusing to recognize this as an industrial dispute. Meanwhile it is gradually destroying union membership by outsourcing more and more jobs to subcontractors and agencies. Today over half the entire workforce of the brewery is not on the payroll of Heineken itself.

Desperate to bring management to a bargaining table, workers held a one-day warning strike on December 15, 2011 but company's reaction was rude: more pressure was put on strikers and unions. January 12, leaders of two locals went on hunger strike in order to protest this open violation of workers' rights and Russian law.

They held a picket line if front of brewery gates and started hunger strike in a tent despite sub-zero temperatures for four days when management agreed to meet chairs of St-Petersburg Regional Unions' Federation and city brunch of AIWU. The talks are not a major success yet but gave workers a hope for some meaningful bargaining and can result with a possible solution of the dispute. As a sign of a good will the hunger strike was suspended.

IUF gives its full support to its two affiliates' efforts to resolve this long lasting conflict in order to protect decent jobs and fair conditions for Heineken workers in St-Petersburg.