Another step towards slavery? What amendments does the government make to the Labor Code
Employers are promised unlimited power over people, which is why the Fair Russia party is categorically against the actual abolition of the Labor Code, which can happen if the bill on additional government powers is adopted in its current form.
This was stated by the leader of the CP faction Sergei Mironov before the plenary meeting in the State Duma on May 12.
“This is a big bill. It is enough to say that 12 profile committees worked on it. There are many correct things that need to be done in different areas. We will vote for him in the first reading, but we have questions. The main one is that part of the bill, which relates to labor relations. From our point of view, the adoption of the act in the current wording will actually mean the abolition of the Labor Code and the transfer to the government of authority to regulate labor relations. It is unacceptable! This poses a great threat to the rights of working citizens, and to the benefit of employers. Ideally, it would be correct not to include the clause on social and labor relations at all. By the second reading we will make our amendment. If our amendment is taken into account, we will support the bill in the second and third readings, ”said Sergey Mironov.
The draft law “On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in order to Take Urgent Measures to Ensure Sustainable Development of the Economy and Prevent the Consequences of the Spread of a New Coronavirus Infection” was submitted to the State Duma by the Russian Government.
Novye Izvestia interviewed political scientists and experts on the topic, trying to find out whether the amendments to the Labor Code are so terrible. And here are the answers received.
Oleg Shein, deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, member of the Committee on Labor, Social Policy and Veterans Affairs:
- The bill introduced by the government in the Duma practically means the abolition of the Labor Code. In that big law, which was voted on in article 18 today, five lines are hidden among several tens of pages of the text, which say: in connection with the crisis, the Government is delegated the authority to establish any normative acts in the world of work. The eight-hour day or its absence, overtime and their size, the order of dismissals and everything else will be determined only by the government.
We, a faction of the Just Russia party, will not vote for this text in the second and third readings. I will vote against. So far we are giving a small corridor of opportunities for the party, but I think that the party will not go for it. I have a protocol of the meeting of the Russian trilateral commission, where such amendments are indicated in black and white as an insult to the trade union side. This is the Russian Federation of Labor.
The meaning of this law is very simple. Amendments to the Labor Code are a procedure. In this case, the government came to the defense of employers, oligarchs. For large capital, the task is simple: to get more profit by paying less wages. There are HSE studies showing that last year 37% of employees worked overtime. And at the same time there were millions of unemployed. Any overtime work means rising unemployment. Where three are to work, only two are injected from morning to night. The third goes to the labor exchange. The transfer of powers from the State Duma to the Government is done solely to ensure the so-called "greater flexibility" of the labor market and protect the interests of employers at the expense of the interests of the employee. And you understand that with all the talk about the temporality of this measure, limiting the term until the end of 2020, everything is easy to extend. Already not under the sauce of coronavirus, but under the sauce of economic recession. Or for any other reason. And it is obvious that this law will be adopted.
Dmitry Orlov, political scientist, general director of the Agency for Political and Economic Communications of APEC:
- The bill on additional powers to combat coronavirus infection allows the government to regulate labor relations, including in those areas that the Tripartite Commission traditionally deals with. This is a temporary measure that does not limit the basic labor rights of citizens, which are enshrined in the Constitution and the Labor Code.
Ekaterina Kurbangalieva, director of ANO SIC “Special Opinion”:
- As I understand it, the Government proposes an interim measure, is introduced before the end of 2020 and does not imply changes to the Labor Code. Although we understand that there is nothing more permanent than what is called temporary. Therefore, we are afraid that sooner or later they will get to the Labor Code, and there are certain restrictions on the actions of the employer. Our Labor Code is created in the interests of the employee. It is impossible to take and dismiss a person just like that. Another thing is that often reality does not coincide with the letter of the law. Labor inspections do not work in full measure with us. But, if we assess not the practice, not law enforcement, but the law, then it is written in the interests of the employee. The Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and Delovaya Rossiya agreed on this bill with the Government. Against only unions.
- What exactly does this bill mean?
- This is the main problem. The wording is rather vague, and no one understands what the government means when it talks about the peculiarities of the regulation of social and labor relations. Amid increased anxiety in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, since no one understands what this is for, different versions are being expressed. Someone says that the new law is needed in order to simplify the process of dismissal and people were able to receive benefits faster. Someone suggests that the changes will allow the introduction of new operating modes - remote and so on. But a certain fuse is retained in the form of a tripartite commission. It includes trade unions, employers and the government. But nothing was stipulated that would oblige one to make decisions only in this commission. The fuse is also very conditional. The law deals with one paragraph. No decryption. There are no discussions. Everyone puts their own meaning. Unions see a threat, employers see hope, that is, some that they fear, others that they want to hear. Either fears or wishes. And the government is silent. While discussing the phantom.