“Labor inspectors stopped responding to workers’ complaints”
The business has become greedy and dissolved, and therefore requires strict control. This conclusion can be drawn from the appeal of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The association believes that the lack of proper control does not fully protect the rights of workers, and proposes to abandon the moratorium on labor inspections of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). According to trade unions, this ban contributes to the fact that employers, sensing permissiveness, resort to various violations of labor relations: staff will be deprived of vacation pay and pension contributions and will not be able to count on compliance with working hours. MK was looking into whether the authorities would lift the moratorium.
It is generally accepted that businesses and employees often have opposing interests. For entrepreneurs, labor costs – a significant part of the costs that reduce profits. Unions worry that employers are seeking to save on personnel costs, thereby violating many of employees' legally protected rights. For this reason, FNPR appealed to Mishustin with a request to lift the moratorium on business inspections.
In particular, according to the FNPR, this practice is widespread: instead of hiring a person under an employment agreement, a contract agreement or self-employed regime is used. Thus, workers are deprived of many social guarantees, in particular, vacation pay, sick leave, pension contributions, legal guarantees of timely payment of wages, compliance with working hours, and protection in labor disputes. This allows businesses to reduce related costs.
“In any phenomenon in the economy there are pros” and cons, contradictions and coordination of interests of various parties, — emphasizes Mark Goikhman, an analyst at the Capital Skills Financial Academy. — Total inspections have been canceled due to the fact that they often interfere with the normal operation of companies and divert effort, resources, and time. This reduces the efficiency and profitability of the business. Which ultimately also does not benefit workers.”
The primary reason for the idea of lifting the moratorium was various emergencies and fires in business centers over the past year, says Elena Kozhemyakina, managing partner of the BLS law firm. That is why the supervisory authorities and the Ministry of Emergency Situations announced that inspections should be resumed.
“Investigations revealed that labor protection is either not carried out at all, or is carried out partially: there are no instructions, training, they do not issue protective equipment, they do not teach how to behave in the event of an emergency, “ continues the interlocutor of “MK”. — A more detailed assessment determined that not everyone evaluates profrisks and pays extra for harmful working conditions. And this is also a violation of the rights and guarantees of employees. In turn, trade unions understand this and have declared that the moratorium should be lifted.”
Kozhemyakina also noted that in a difficult economic situation, some companies again began to transfer some work processes to the “gray zone”: vacation pay, salaries, registration, etc. For example, they engage in overtime work, but do not pay for it, or enter into a fixed-term contract when there is no basis for it and it is necessary to draw up a standard open-ended one…
“Since there are no scheduled inspections, complaints from labor inspectorate (LIT) employees are responded to in the form of a preventive visit or a warning (a letter to the employer about the inadmissibility of violations of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). Accordingly, people turn to the trade union, since the employer, if there is a trade union, is obliged to coordinate many personnel steps and actions with the association,” — says the lawyer.
Whether the government will lift the moratorium is difficult to predict, says a specialist at the law firm Intercession. Alexander Balakirev. According to him, business is under serious pressure and is forced to adapt to circumstances.
«Costs are rising both due to rising exchange rates and due to the increasing complexity of supply chains. We also constantly hear about staff shortages and that salaries for qualified personnel have increased significantly. Therefore, canceling concessions for businesses and tightening the screws risks having a negative impact on its functioning. And this, in turn, is not in the interests of the state. Business, thanks to taxes, significantly saturates the budget,” — the expert concludes.