In the middle of April 2019, the Russian Timber Workers’ Union (RTWU) organised a trade union practicum to develop strategies on how to apply safe work for organising purposes. Over 60 local and regional trade union leaders from Moscow, St-Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Irkutsk, Tikhvin and other regions convened in Komi Republic, north of Russia to share innovative strategies in organising workers and fight for safe working conditions.
“One of the important tools that we use in our union to organise workers is trade union engagement in compulsory occupational health and safety conditions assessment. When workers understand that participating in such assessment will improve their working conditions and provide them compensations for hazardous working conditions, they join the unions right away,” said Julia Vertigelova, occupational health and safety specialist from Komi Republic.
Forestry is one of the most challenging industries in Russia in terms of poor working conditions and occupational health and safety. The forestry sector is also very tough in organizing workers and launching trade union campaigns.
“We had very intensive debates about the challenges we face in the forestry sector. There was a mutual understanding that without a common agenda and joint efforts, it is impossible to improve the situation. For this reason, we decided to develop a comprehensive campaign ‘For Decent Work in Forestry’ that will include public actions, a legal component, union mobilisation and mass public media outreach,” said Denis Zhuravlev, RTWU President.