10 September 2019: The Russian Timber Workers Union (RTWU) launched a national campaign for Decent Work in the forestry sector. The campaign consists of a five-step approach to promote decent work in forestry including: decent wages, decent working conditions, effective social dialogue, fair retirement benefits, and formal vocational and educational training for young forestry workers.
Forestry workers in Russia face enormous challenges when it comes to level of wages, the working conditions, and social benefits. In Russia, the forestry is part of the public sector and for decades the RTWU has been pushing the Russian Government to take appropriate measures to improve working conditions in the sector. However, despite the efforts of the union, there is no positive response from the government and situation has worsened.
“In May 2019, I participated as a delegate of the Workers Group of the ILO Sectoral Meeting on Promoting Decent Work and Safety and Health in Forestry. It was a unique opportunity to work at the international level to come up with a set of recommendations to improve the situation in forestry worldwide. Also, it gave me a possibility to assess situation in the forestry sector in Russia from a global perspective.” stated Denis Zhuravlev, RTWU president
He continued, “We cannot wait any longer for the government to react to trade union demands to improve the situation in forestry. We have a clear vision as to what should be changed in the sector and now, we need to make our voices heard. That is why we launched a campaign to promote decent work in forestry.”
The union launched the campaign via its mainstream media and social media. A comprehensive work plan has been developed detailing activities at the national, regional and local levels and how to mobilize workers. The union hopes to achieve the first concrete results by the end of the year.
The campaign plan includes, in particular, forestry workers to sign a petition underlining the campaign goals which then will be sent to the Russian Government. On the World Day for Decent Work, October 7, there will be a collective action under the campaign slogans, while the union prepares to renegotiate the sectoral collective agreement. The RTWU has produced campaign materials including a video and a special campaign logo.
“In our campaign for Decent Work for forestry workers we count on the support of the entire trade union community in Russia. All problems in forestry are long lasting problems and only through joint efforts, we can change the current situation for the better,” concluded Denis Zhuravlev.