[Marxism] Support Unilever Workers in Omsk!

Thomas Campbell avvakum at gmail.com
Wed Sep 24 02:49:38 MDT 2014


It has been more than two years since NOVOPROF union members at Unilever’s
Inmarko ice cream factory in Omsk, Russia, have been fighting for good
faith negotiations of their wages, which are embarrassingly low for a
leading ice cream producer (20% of the Russian market) and one of the
largest food multinationals on the planet.

Management keeps refusing any attempt by the union to hold serious talks,
yet it repeats again and again that it is “open to social dialogue.”
Unfortunately, it is open to dialogue only in name.

Two years ago, hundreds of ice cream packers (all of them women, all of
them former Unilever employees who had been outsourced to an agency
supplying laborers exclusively to Unilever) struck for three days,
demanding a return to direct employment, recognition of their union, and
decent pay and conditions, including a real wage increase. Their slogan at
the time was “one grand per shift,” i.e., 1,000 rubles or 23 euros for a
twelve-hour workday. The strike resulted in the establishment of the
NOVOPROF union and the return to direct employment of its members, but
wages remain 18 euros per shift, which is far below the regional industrial

It is very difficult to stand strong in such a long fight. And when you are
involved in a dispute like this, you need to know you are not alone, that
the world is watching and other people support you.

IUF’s Moscow office is therefore running a campaign to show Unilever Omsk
workers that we personally support them. We ask people to make a photo of
themselves and their friends, family or coworkers holding a small banner
reading, “I support Unilever Inmarko workers in Omsk” or a similar message.
You can post your photos on Vkontakte (
https://vk.com/album-76721566_201695104) and Facebook (
or email them to masha.kurzina at gmail.com. All photos will be printed in a
special issue of the union newspaper, five hundred copies of which will be
distributed at Unilever Omsk, meaning every worker will get one.

Thank you for your solidarity!

You can learn more about the campaign and the workers’ demands here:



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