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Conflict at Nestl� Russia ends in union victory

Posted to the IUF website 12-Jun-2008

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The dispute over collective bargaining rights at Nestl� Russia, which started in December 2007, has ended in a union victory. Thanks to the workers' determination to win and the extensive international solidarity campaign, Nestl� has agreed to formally recognize the union's fundamental right to negotiate wages.

The agreement signed on June 11 between union and management clearly states that wages and wage scales will be an integral part of the collective bargaining process, which is to be conducted annually. The first negotiations will start in September before the company sets the factory budget for 2009. Workers obtained a 3.5 percent wage increase starting June 1 in addition to the 15 percent increase on January 1 decreed by the company, which was below the inflation rate.

The dispute attracted enormous public attention in Russia, and this agreement sets an important precedent for all workers in Russia whose employers reject unions' right to negotiate wages. Nestl� has been forced through union action from its initial refusal to negotiate and insistence that wage adjustments were subject to management discretion. It took 6 months of marching, picketing, leafleting and international solidarity actions to persuade the company to respect a basic workers right. This campaign has been an important component of the struggle for union rights, decent conditions, pay and job security for Nestle workers globally.

Solidarity works! � says Larisa Selivanova, Nestle Perm union leader, expressing the Perm workers' appreciation to IUF members and labour rights activists. � We know this because we've experienced it ourselves and we are ready to extend our support to all those working people at Nestle globally who are fighting for their rights.