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Russian labour movement support for Nestlé workers' right to negotiate wages

Posted to the IUF website 27-Mar-2008

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Following the successful rally in Perm on March 22, which brought together over 200 demonstrators in support of Nestlé workers' call for genuine and constructive wage negotiations (see > Support Russian Nestlé workers' right to negotiate wages!), the struggle was taken to Moscow on March 25, where national labour movement leaders pledged their support to the Nestlé workers' union at a press conference and a picket.

The Moscow action began with a press conference where Mikhail Shmakov, chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions (FNPR), Natalia Agapova, chairwoman of the Agroindustrial Workers Union of Russia (AIWU), and Anatoly Shulga, chairman of the Coordination Council of Nestlé Unions, sharply criticized Nestlé’s refusal to bargain in good faith. They also announced that the campaign would continue until a solution was found, and referred to the call for international solidarity issued by the IUF.

At the picket in front of Nestlé Russia headquarters in central Moscow, Nestle union representatives from Perm and Timashevsk together with supporters from the AIWU and the FNPR as well as socialist youth organizations voiced their demand for a negotiated wage increase.

Protesters carried posters saying "Nestle - shameless", "Wage negotiations are our right!" and "We give Nestle KitKat, but can't get decent wages!". A giant blue rat symbolizing the stinginess and greed behind Nestlé's refusal to pay decent wages accompanied the protesters.

Mikhael Shmakov and Natalia Agapova pose with the Nestlé rat.

Both the press conference and the picket attracted wide media attention, as such protest actions are still rather rare in Russia.

Nestlé Perm Union chair Larisa Selivanova takes questions from reporters.

Support Nestle Perm workers in their struggle for the right to wage negotiations!
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Click here to view three-minute videos of the Perm and Moscow protests.