By Denis Sommer
On October 28 in the capital, in front of the office of Mosgortrans, an action was held in defense of an illegally dismissed tram driver and activist of the Interregional Trade Union of Public Transport Workers (MPROT), Denis Mavrina.
Denis Mavrina was a member of the constituent assembly of the MPROT’s independent trade union of transport workers in the tram depot in Moscow. In retaliation for his activism, Mavrina was assigned extra responsibilities, which he was physically unable to finish in time for the start of his shift. This method of isolation and the subsequent dismissal of independent trade union activists isn’t new. It includes a range of measures. First, employees who are active in the protection of their rights and those of their colleagues are probed to find their weak spots: one was told that to protect these rights means “to go against the will of the state” and “they will be reported to the Federal Security Service”; others they attempt to coax away from the trade union with tickets to the theater, film and football; a third method is to loosen “labor requirements” in exchange for their loyalty and withdrawal from collective forms of struggle. For those who do not agree to conciliation with the employer, a situation is artificially created to justify their dismissal, in violation of labor rights and trade union law. This is what happened to Denis Mavrina.
The rally in solidarity with Mavrina was attended by representatives of the United Communist Party (OKP), Communist Youth Union (SKM) and the “Other Russia” party.
Mosgortrans management, watching us from the windows of their head office, could not ignore the participants of the action. Instead, they periodically sent out security guards to video the event, and disputed our permit. Thus, once again, Mosgotrans, the largest part of the Moscow transport system, responsible for carrying most above-ground commuters, conspired in the manor against their “slaves” — the drivers and other employees who do not back the official structures.
“Hands off the trade union!”, “We demand immediate reinstatement of illegally dismissed union activist Denis Mavrina!” — chanted the protesters.
It can be assumed that to Mosgortrans management the name of unlawfully dismissed worker Denis Mavrina means little compared to “optimization” and “privatization” of the enterprise. Moreover, these measures are being successfully implemented today at the expense of transport workers and all Muscovites.
For the enlightenment of the Mosgortrans bosses, the protesters chanted: “No to privatization of Mosgortrans,” “Mosgortrans, comply with the laws of Russia!”, “No optimization to the detriment of the safety of riders and workers,” and “We’ll be back!”
The fight against the illegal dismissal of trade union activist and tram driver Denis Mavrina will continue.