21.06.2014 Human Rights and the Freedom of Association in Eastern Europe: The Challenges of Zhanaozen and the Hopes of the Maidan
The outcome of the current confrontation between Ukraine and Russia is yet unclear, but already it has become evident that the social and economic system of the region’s two largest countries will change. This article is about emerging threats and opportunities in the area of labour relations in terms of workers’ ability to realize their collective rights.
Aeroflot may have been the official carrier of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics which ended yesterday, but its pilots are being left out in the cold following a long-standing dispute between their union and the management. Russia’s biggest airline carrier is under intense pressure from labour rights groups who say the company is putting passengers’ lives at risk by refusing to listen to the safety concerns of pilots.
An employment dispute between Russia’s largest airline and an outspoken union leader has highlighted a sharpening confrontation between pilots and Russia’s air carriers over how to deal with a chronic shortage of qualified fliers.
On October 18th and 20th Russian law enforcement authorities arrested leaders and activists of the Sheremetevo Trade Union of Airline Pilots (ShPLS) Alexei Shliapnikov, Valery Pimoshenko, and Sergei Knyshov and charged them with extorting a large sum of money from Aeroflot. They are currently under criminal investigation and in police custody. Charges against them carry prison terms of up to ten years. The Confederation of Labor of Russia (KTR) announced a national campaign in support of the ShPLS unionists.