Published: 07/12/2017
The IUF-affiliated Novoprof union of workers at Unilever’s ice cream factory in Omsk, Russia has successfully negotiated a wage increase which puts wages ahead of the projected inflation rate. The outcome of the negotiations brought an overall increase of 5.3 Percent, with an average of 5.9 percent for the categories of workers represented by the union, including 6 percent for the worst paid. Inflation for the Omsk region is forecast at 3.8 percent this year.

The outcome is an important collective bargaining success for the young union, which was formed in 2012 with IUF support when women packing workers whose jobs had been outsourced to an agency struck for 3 days demanding a return to direct employment, union recognition and decent pay and conditions, including a real wage increase.

In October 2014, the union signed an agreement with management affirming the union’s right to annual negotiations on wages – still far from established practice in Russian industrial relations – but progress had proven difficult, with negotiations repeatedly deadlocked over management’s insistence on ‘consultation’ rather than wage bargaining.

Wages at the Omsk factory still fall short of what the union considers a living wage.