Association of the workers' trade unions "Zashita Truda"
September 27-29, 2002


The 4th Congress of the Association of workers' trade unions "Zashita Truda" ("Defense of Labor") was held on September 27-29 in the region of Nizhniy Novgorod. Delegates of the Association with mandates from the trade union’s organizations in Arzamas-16, Astrakhan, Vologda, Vorkuta, Belgorod, Kuzbass, Leningrad, Moscow and the Moscow region, Magadan and other regions of Russia participated in the Congress. They represented 6500 members of the Association. Also representatives of the foreign trade unions SUD (France) and TUMTIS (Turkey) attended the Congress. At the Congress there were also representatives of the Federation of the trade union of the air-traffic controllers of Russia and the Foundation of the Workers' Academy. The editorial boards of the newspapers "Trudovaya Rossiya," "Proletarskaya Gazeta" and "Za Rabochee Delo" were represented in the Congress.

During the Congress an international seminar was held on labor rights in Russia and Europe, dealing with collective contracts, the participation of the trade unions in the anti-imperialist and anti-globalization movements, the cooperation of the trade unions of different countries and other issues. All the delegates and foreign guests of the Congress took part in the seminar. Various reports were made. Among the conference participants were the deputy of the Russian State Duma, a co-chairman of the Association "Zashita Truda," O.V. Shein, and the doctors of economics and philosophy, E.N. Rudyk, A.V. Zolotov, M.V. Popov and L.A. Bulavka.

The agenda of the Congress was carried out successfully. The Congress adopted the Resolution "On the Main Tasks …" (see below), which orients the trade union organizations of "Zashita Truda" towards the solution of issues related to improving the conditions of the working class, which have became much more difficult as a result of the recent adoption of the new Labor Code. The Congress elected a new Council of Co-chairmen: V.P. Vorobyov (Kuzbass, city of Anzhero-Sudzhinsk), V.G. Gamov (Arzamas-16), N.N. Silantev (Vorkuta) and O.V. Shein (Astrakhan). The new council of the Association elected as secretaries of the executive committee of the Association O.B. Babich (organizational secretary, Moscow) and A.V. Pyzhov (secretary of international relations, Leningrad). A new Control Commission was elected with V.M. Petrov as chairman.

V.G. Gamov, Co-chairman of the Association of the workers' trade unions "Zashita Truda"

Resolution of the 4th Congress of the Association of Workers’ Trade Unions "Zashita Truda"

On the Main Tasks of the Organizations of "Zashita"

The development of events in the last year has shown that the decisions of the 3rd Congress of the Association of trade unions "Zashita Truda" have correctly reflected the tasks of our organization under the new conditions. It is necessary to get ready to confront a new offensive against workers’ rights which is being prepared by the bourgeois authorities. It is expected that new legislation will eliminate the rights of the workers' organizations which are allowed by the old "Law on trade unions," which is still in force. On the other hand, the Congress’s prediction at that time has been confirmed: "The (new) Labor Code will inevitably increase the class struggle and will create favorable conditions for a new rise in the class struggle carried out by the trade unions and the working class in general."

The Congress made decisions regarding the main tasks of the Association:

1) The Executive Committee of "Zashita Truda" must:

a) Register the trade union "Zashita" and its local organizations;

b) Organize regular trade union schools, including seminars, and publish the necessary literature;

c) Maintain the web site of the trade union Association including updating the pages on legal advice at least once a month;

d) Forestall the Government’s offensive against the rights of the workers, especially regarding housing reforms and communal services.

2) Regional organizations must:

a) Maintain constant and uninterrupted communications with the central organs of "Zashita" in Moscow, Arzamas-16, Astrakhan, Vorkuta and Anzhero-Sudzhinsk. For this they must acquire material and technical resources such as computer centers with access to the Internet;

b) Ensure effective and operational communication to coordinate the activities of the local organizations, including the exchange of experience in the trade union struggle;

c) Participate in the tripartite commissions of the workplaces;

d) Participate in the signing of agreements regarding the budget;

e) Analyze and sum up the experience of the effective use of the new Labour Code of the Russian Federation.

3) Local organizations must:

a) Draw more members of the organization into active trade union struggle;

b) Increase the number of members of the local organization to 50% or more of the work collective;

c) Defend all the members of the trade union from repression. For this it is necessary to draw the members of the trade union into the workplace and shop committees. The members elected to these committees should be rotated regularly. The central organs of the trade union should be used as much as possible for acts of solidarity to defend persecuted comrades;

d) Study the legal framework of the new Labor Code;

e) Publish and distribute trade union leaflets and newspapers;

f) Establish direct communication with the central organs of the trade union (especially when the leaders of the trade union are persecuted);

g) Regularly collect union dues and plan their spending;

h) Organize activities of the masses;

i) Explain to every member of the trade union the need to increase trade union and labor discipline, the need to inform the trade union about all documents signed by members of the trade union with the administration. This should be done to avoid making it easier for the administration to take legal measures against members of the trade union or against the trade union as a whole;

j) Participate in activities related to the drawing up of collective contracts. As a main task, the local organizations must struggle for equal rights for all the trade unions, for the right to work, for the preservation of jobs, for increases in wages, etc.

4) The deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the co-chairman of the Association of trade unions "Zashita Truda," must do everything possible to make new amendments to the recently adopted Labor Code, on the basis of the draft of the Labor Code proposed by the trade unions.

Region of Nizhniy Novgorod

Click here to return to the Index on Russia