Russia: Workers at GM-Avtovaz car factory fight for union recognition

Reinstate Ilsiyar Sherafutdiniva, victimised union leader!

Bosses are attacking a new independent trade union at the GM (General Motors)-Avtovaz joint venture car plant, in Togliatti, an industrial city in Russia. The Deputy President of the union, Ilsiyar Sherafutdinova, was fired on the pretence that she was “absent from work with no reason”. This despite the fact that she gave a sick note to her bosses, which was issued by the company’s doctor.

Ilsiyar is an outspoken proponent of the right to join a trade union and has suffered attacks on her own rights as a result. Ilsiyar is a trained and experienced paint shop operator, yet management moved her from job to a new post, giving her inadequate training and then attacking her work. On one occasion, when journalists were visiting Ilsiyar’s workshop, management forcibly kept Ilsiyar in a rest room to prevent her speaking to the reporter about the real situation in the plant. As a result, Ilsiyar suffers from stress, a diagnosis that even the company doctor agreed with.

Ilsiyar’s union asks for worldwide protests, in any of the following ways:

Protest messages can be sent to:

The General Director of GM Avtovaz Richard Swando

445967 Samarskaya obl, Togliatti,

Ul. Vokzalnaya 37

Or by Fax to +7 8482 758060 or +7 8482 758062

Richard Swando can be contacted directly.

His telephone number is: +7 8482 758012

and his mobile number is: +7 902 3730314

Why not send him an SMS demanding reinstatement?

Alternatively protests can be sent to the HQ of ‘GM Europe’

GM showrooms can be picketed

Your press releases can explain how General Motors is ‘downsizing’ its workforce in the US and Western Europe but opening up production in countries, such as Russia – they are paying workers at the GM Avtovaz plant a mere 3 euros an hour – which is why they do not want a trade union at Russian plants and why they are victimising union activists, like Ilsiyar.

Please send information about any protests to

Andrei Lyapin, President of the trade union

and to Rob Jones:

Special financial appeal to all readers of

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November 2006