Russian unionist Valentin Urusov who was recently freed from prison received the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2013. IndustriALL Global Union supported his nomination for the award.

"Urusov has become symbolic of the struggle for workers' rights and freedom of association in Russia," says Leif Sande, committee chair and head of the LO trade union Industri Energi.

Volkswagen introduced a new work schedule at its plant in Kaluga, Russia, for the summer, requiring work on Saturdays and Sundays almost every week. Workers were pressured by foremen to accept the new schedule in writing. The Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA), which organizes VW workers in Kaluga, decided to take collective action.

The Prosecutor’s Office questions for the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) are at times ridiculous or irrelevant, claims the union. On 20 March the ITUA was inspected by the authorities as part of a broader crack down on independent organizations. Alexei Etmanov, ITUA president, was given a letter specifying the documents which were requested from the union.

On April 16 Moscow hosted a conference on management, representation and protection of labour migrants’ rights and trade unions’ experience and prospects. It was organized by the Centre for Social and Labour Rights, the Confederation of Labour of Russia and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF).

On 20 March the headquarters of the Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, were visited by the representatives of the Prosecutor’s office. The authorities requested various official documents from the union.

The ITUC has welcomed the release of Russian trade union leader Valentin Urusov from prison. In early 2008 Urusov, a miner and trade union leader, was detained by the authorities, alleging narcotics possession. However, his arrest coincided suspiciously with preparations for a protest rally by workers at the state-owned Alrosa diamond mining company—a rally which Urusov helped organise.

On 6 March a Russian court ordered to free Valentin Urusov, a union leader at diamond mines in Sakha, Russia, from prison. Unions in Russia and across the world have always underlined Urusov’s innocence.

Despite the fact that he has spent nearly four and a half years in a penal colony in eastern Siberia, Valentin Urusov is not particularly well-known to the general public. But Urusov, who was recently nominated for the 2013 Arthur Svensson International Award for Union Rights, is the victim of a human rights violation as gross as any.

IndustriALL Global Union supports Valentin Urusov’s nomination for the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights 2013. Urusov is a Russian trade union leader, who was jailed in 2008 under a fabricated case for his successful attempts to organize workers at diamond mines in the northern province of Sakha in Russia.

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