The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in favour of members of the independent trade union of dockers at Russia’s Kaliningrad Sea Commercial Port. The court in Strasbourg ordered the Russian state to pay EUR 75,000 (RUR 3.3m) in compensation to the union members for loss of employment and violation of their rights. Under the ruling 30 dockers at the port will receive EUR 2,500 (RUR 110,800) each.
In October 1997, the members of the trade union called a two-day strike to press their demand for higher wages and better working conditions. The port refused to give in to the union demands, but instead dismissed the union activists. Without recourse in Russian courts, the dockers turned in 2001 to the ECHR, which accepted the case in 2004, Kaliningrad.ru recalls.
Mr Mikhail Chesalin, member of the Kaliningrad regional council from the Patriots of Russia party, said this was the first time that the ECHR has recognised a case of discrimination against trade unionists in Russia. “Now Mr Putin and the port company have to pay us EUR 75,000, and authorities have to investigate the activities of those port officials who let the union activists be discriminated,” Mr Chesalin said.