The National Congress of the Trades Councils (TUC’s) was held on Saturday, June 11 in Leicester, England. On the agenda was the following emergency motion, tabled by the Greater Manchester Association of TUC’s grouping 10 TUC’s.
After the motion was read out, the demand for the immediate release of the trade unionist Kirill Ukratsev, president of the Courier trade union, and the official recognition of the trade union by the Russian authorities was unanimously adopted by the delegates of the 150 TUC’s represented at congress.
Dear comrades and colleagues in the international movement, this is to cail on trade unions in Russia and around the world to launch a full-scale campaign for the release of the President of the Russian trade union Courier Kirill Ukraintsev. On 25 April – the third day of the food delivery workers1 strike in Moscow – police broke down the door to the flat of the trade union leader. He was arrested and, on 27 April, a Moscow court sent him to a pre-trial detention centre until 25 June, He is charged under the « Dadine article » (1). It is a repressive political article against freedom of assembly. Under it, anyone who has received three administrative penalties within 180 days for any rallies, meetings or pickets can be criminally prosecuted. Its application in Russia is extremely selective and non-legal.
Kirill Ukraintsev faces up to five years in prison under this article. Kirill Ukraintsev is being prosecuted for his trade union activities.
In 2020 he and his colleagues managed to establish the trade union « Courier ». The union united food delivery workers, an industry in Russia controlled by the two giant corporations Yandex and Delivery Club.
The union succeeded in forcing the corporations to make concessions to the couriers several fîmes through strikes and other collective action. Wage arrears have been paid and unfair penalty systems have been abolished.
The Courier union has become a symbol of a new wave of activism in the Russian trade union movement, which is going through very difficult times under the Putin regime. Their experiences are inspiring young people to fight for their rights. It is clear that the Russian regime, backed by oligarchs and corporations, is trying to shift ail the burdens of a criminal war onto the shoulders and wallets of wage earners. Across the country, people are being made redundant and laid off, and their wages are being eut. A wave of worker protests begins to build up. In an attempt to put out the flaming fire, the authorities and corporations have decided to neutralize one of the leaders and symbols of Russia’s trade union movement.
Under these circumstances, helping Kirill is not just a step to protect one of our comrades. It is a crucial moment for the development of the trade union movement in Russia in the coming months. Moreover, it is clear that only through solidarity between employees and genuine trade unions across national borders can we change the world so that wars such as the current one are no longer possible.
Kirill Ukraintsev and the Kurier trade union have always considered themselves part of the global international employee movement. And today they need the solidarity of unions and likeminded people worldwide!
Demand the release of Kirill Ukraintsev!
Demand recognition of the Kurier trade union!
Another world is possible, and we must fight for it together!
Moved Greater Manchester Association Trades Council
(1) Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code punishes any alleged « repeated violation of the legal procedure for organising a meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picket ». He is nicknamed after lldar Dadine, the first citizen to be convicted under this article in 2015.