Ukrainian union leader victimised in Kyiv

Submitted by martin on 19 December, 2007 - 7:36 Author: Chris Ford

On 12 December 2007 Vladimir Demyan, a trade union leader and the chairperson of Protection of Labour [Zaschita Truda] a Kyiv independent union, technician for electrical installations at the Commercial Centre 16 of METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine (part of the METRO Group multinational holding company headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany) was unlawfully dismissed in Kyiv.

From the beginning the management of this multinational has given a hostile reception to the fact that on 19 February 2007 a trade union local of "Protection of Labour" was organised. Within a short period, Vladimir Demyan, a recognized union leader, was able to organise a number of workers at the enterprise and started the struggle to improve of working conditions at "METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine".

Management led by Axel Hluchy, the German Chairman of the Board of Directors of METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine, Mikhail Zavylov, the HR Director, and Peter Troyan, a Slovak and the Director of Commercial Centre have responded by targeting Vladimir Demyan.

On 27 September 2007 METRO Cash & Carry manager Mikhail Zavylov made his first attempt to dismiss Vladimir Demyan by issuing simultaneously three disciplinary penalties on trumped up charges. This was done in clear breach of the provisions of Article 149 of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine.

Failing in this attempt to victimise Vladimir on 11 October 2007 Yuri Vostrikov, Head of the Paramilitary Security Service of the Commercial Centre of "METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine" and a former commando officer, threatened Vladimir Demyan with physical violence. It was only the interference of police officers that averted tragedy.

There is now a criminal case by the District Prosecutor’s Office against the head of security of METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine" pending over this incident.

Vladimir Demyan’s was also regularly followed by one or two security guards when moving around the commercial centre. At the same time, serious pressure has been exerted to prevent the young trade union from growing. The management is now collecting "memoranda" from its employees with the only objective of discredit Vladimir. Fully aware of the danger of international trade union solidarity within the company has been engaged in an international campaign aimed at discrediting Vladimir Demyan.

For years Metro Cash and Carry has sought to delay its legal obligations to engage in collective bargaining (a contract in USA terminology), now just as they were no longer able to delay and an agreement was being finalised Vladimir Demyan was dismissed 12 December 2007.

Once again it was on a series of trumped up allegations were thrown together and no proper procedure followed. Once again it was in breach of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine. This includes Article 252 of the Code of Labour Laws which guarantees protection from dismissal without the prior consent of their trade union.

This anti-trade union behaviour is indicative of the multinationals coming to Ukraine and all post-Soviet countries: a maximum of cynicism and disregard for legal rights of employees accompanied by a minimum of moral, ethical and cultural aspects.

The Protection of Labour trade union of Ukraine is appealing is mounting an international campaign of solidarity in defence of Vladimir Demyan, an ordinary electrician who has committed no offence other than to organise a trade union.

They are demanding METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine:
1. Reinstate the unlawfully dismissed trade union leader Vladimir Demyan immediately!
2. The owners of the METRO Group holding must immediately terminate employment contracts with Axel Hluchy, Mikhail Zavylov and Peter Troyan,

Send protests to:

METRO AG
Corporate Communications
Schlüterstrasse 1
40235 Düsseldorf, Germany
Phone: +49 211 6886-2870
Fax: +49 211 6886-2000
E-mail: presse@metro.de

Metro Cash and Cary Ukraine

Tel. +38(044) 492 10 00
Fax +38(044) 492 11 00

Comments

Submitted by martin on Wed, 12/19/2007 - 07:50

We, representatives of the undersigned Hungarian Civil Organizations are protesting against the unlawful dismissal of Vladimir DEMYAN, technician at METRO Cash and Carry Ukraine, trade union leader and Chairperson of Zaschita Truda in Kyiv.

The now victimized Vladimir Demyan’s only “sin” was that he had organized a trade union and tried to improve the working conditions of the employees at the METRO company in Kyiv. In reponse, the management several time attempted to dismiss him and by the help of the Security Service physically threatened him.

This anti-trade union behaviour of the multinationals coming to Central and East-Europe is not a unique one. In Hungary for example SUZUKI and HANKOOK do the same. They disregard the legal rights of employees and do not care at all about the moral, ethical and cultural consequences of their behaviour.

We fully support the Appeal of Zaschita Truda, we are in solidarity with Vladimir Demyan, who has committed no offence other than to organise a trade union.

We are demanding METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine:

1. Reinstate the unlawfully dismissed trade union leader Vladimir Demyan immediately!

2. The owners of the METRO Group holding must immediately terminate employment contracts with Axel Hluchy, the German Chairman of the Board of Directors of METRO Cash & Carry Ukraine, Mikhail Zavylov, the HR Director, and Peter Troyan, a Slovak and the Director of Commercial Centre.

Budapest, 18th December 2007.

Signed by

ATTAC Hungary Association, Leftist Alternative Association, Friends of ESZMELET (Leftist quarterly “Conscioussness”)