Yuri Belyakov, a lawyer of the REP Trade Union, has helped Yulia Zueva, a REP member and a saleswoman at the “Rublyovsky” retail network, to defend her rights.
Yulia Zueva, a saleswoman of Category 6, has worked at the network store in the Zavodskoy District of Minsk for about a year. The working conditions did not suit her, but the store manager refused to dismiss her by agreement of the parties.
“Don’t come to work, and we’ll fire you for absenteeism,” the manager “advised” her, as Yulia told the praca-by.info.
Yulia did not want to have such an entry in her work record book and turned to the REP Trade Union for legal help. The lawyer Belyakov explains:
“To earn BYN 700 at the ‘Rublyovsky’ shop, Yulia had to work for 15 hours a day. We helped her to compile a resignation application under Article 41 of the Labour Code. In this case, the employer violates the employee’s labour rights. Unfortunately, this is not the first case in retail networks. Presidential Ordinance No. 29 gives carte blanche to employers: they can keep people in workplaces under fixed minimum salary, and workers are forced to work there for at least a year. This practice is contrary to international standards – this is forced labour, which is prohibited by the Belarusian legislation too.”
Yuri Belyakov notes that the approach to workers in Russia and Belarus is “heaven and earth”:
“In Russia, you may leave any workplace within two weeks. The employer creates conditions for his employees to prevent their transfer to competing retail networks. In Belarus, everything is vice versa: getting a job in a network is not a problem, but when you want to quit – it’s a fight. It’s high time to abolish this legal form of temporary slavery, which degrades workers’ dignity – Ordinance No. 29.“