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22.01.2010 .


. 6 .

Open letter to the member organizations of the International Trade Union Confederation, the General Confederation of Trade Unions

 From the Primary Trade Union Organization ...

Annex to the letter – report of the Primary Trade Union Organization members, who signed the letter – will be presented on the Leningrad Trade Union Federation Conference

 Liberty, equality, fraternity 

Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Region Trade Union Federation was created in March 1991 at the initiative of craft unions as the Leningrad regional trade union councils full successor. On the 6th of November 1905 it marked the beginning of the Russian trade unions history. It consolidates more than 800 members of trade unions and coordinates work of its 43 member organizations and more than 6 thousand territorial and primary organizations, which member organizations include. The largest trade unions in Leningrad Trade Union Federation are the following: union of the educational and scientific workers, medical workers union, state institutes’ and public services union, union of housing and public utilities, culture and agroindustrial sector. 

A friend in power is a friend lost. Vladimir Derbin is trying to create a commercial structure from trade union fraternity, with the help of the member organizations’ leaders he enforces to adopt amendments to the charters and regulations of primary organizations. These actions are clearly aimed to take out of way all the participants of trade union movement, primarily ordinary trade union members, and not to let them control trade unions finances and real estate. Today we as ordinary trade union members find out about large scale and mass abuses of trade union real estate only from mass media. Therefore with the support of ITUCs chairman Michail Shmakov and some other leaders of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation member organizations, federal principles, which we proclaimed in 1991 when we established trade union federation and entered it, are completely neglected in the homeland of Russian trade unions. Why do they thrust us items of statute and regulations, that any decision of primary organization can be abandoned by the senior trade union organization?  Where is our freedom of speech? Can the competences and powers of member organizations and federation be delimited? Is there equality of rights and self-determination of trade union organizations?

Theft and waste of trade unions property became a kind of norm, among numerous real estate properties, which not long ago could be used by trade union members, only 20 % remained at trade unions disposal.  Everything was sold unreasonably cheap. Especially invidious is the story of health resort complex, which was inherited by modern trade unions represented by ITUC and IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation from the Soviet trade unions. During several decades health resorts, pensionates, holiday houses were an indispensable part of the health system and infrastructure. In the period if Vladimir Derbins presidency in IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation waste of trade unions property on the territory of Saint Petersburg reached a peak under the condonation and participation of federation president and his companions. The sale of such objects as Sestroretsk resort, pensionate Duni, culture centre Lensoveta, culture centre Kirova etc., associated to them scandals and criminal cases, which were highlighted by press,- these are Vladimir Derbins main achievements during his presidency in Leningrad Trade Union Federation.

The most significant example in present is a story when one of the best health resorts of the soviet times – “Sestroretsk resort”, known as a pearl pf northern Riviera - disappeared from the register book of trade union property. Its history dates from 1898. In 1994 the main owners of “Sestroretsk resort”, which was turned into ZAO (CJSC), were successors of soviet trade unions: ITUC ( 50, 74% of stakes – majority stake) and Leningrad Trade Union Federation (45, 75% of stakes), a minor part of stakes is in private ownership.

In 2003 the general committee of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation represented by member organizations’ leaders gave substantial sum of money to buy 100% of ZAO stakes. But our general committees decision was not implemented under the pressure of ITUCs administration and ZAO “Trade union bank “Solidarnost””. In 2005 V.G.Derbin was appointed as a representative of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation in ZAO “Health resort “Sestroretsk resort”. He was also elected chairman of the board of directors.

It seemed that ITUCs and IA Leningrad Trade Union Federations interests, as well as interests of ordinary workers, were secured. However from this very moment they acted secretly from trade union organizations and ordinary trade union members and as a result Sestroretsk resorts property became a possession of the offshore company “Datadot Technology limited”, registered in Cyprus. It’s not so important, who has bought property worth more than 100 million $, of course if Vladimir Derbins material interests are not hidden behind the Cyprian company. We can not answer another question: how big is the loss of our federation, our common loss, caused by Vladimir Derbin?  Where is the money, got from the sale of this and other objects?

We are sure, that IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation Councils chairman Derbin can not be aware of all the details! Moreover this mean story, including illegal manipulations with reorganization of legal entities and objects sale, is connected with criminal and civil suits. At present an appeal was sent to the Prosecutor General's Office, it contains a request to investigate circumstances of criminal cases 509584 from 03.04.07 stoppage, it seems, that Vladimir Derbin managed to stifle the case.

It sounds like Mr Derbin cares about “butter” in the struggle for trade union members’ piece of bread. Why does ITUCs chairman Michail Shmakov promotes Vladimir Derbin as our irreplaceable chairman?

“A true trade union leader is a person who will think twice, before doing nothing” – that is what trade unions ordinary members think about the chairman of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federation. Present chairman was not involved in any of critical labor arguments. He did not help in any way to defend workers rights. He chaired our organization after he had been vice-governor of Saint Petersburg, but he remained bureaucrat in his new duty.

One can find out what a person is like by his work. Where is democracy in the trade union movement? Derbins autocracy is unlimited. We will be ashamed to watch future election of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federations chairman, set on the 25th of January 2010, even now we see that Vladimir Derbin is trying to use fraud election technologies and misuses administrative resource. Derbins behavior during pre-election stage, his interviews, press-conferences demonstrate: Derbin became actually the only candidate for the position of IA Leningrad Trade Union Federations chairman. Vladimir Derbin wants to keep sole power with the only purpose – to avoid personal responsibility for his crimes and misuses.

Dum spiro spero[1].  We, primary trade union workers, are desperate because ITUCs and  IA Leningrad Trade Union Federations leaders are not able to work properly and in a democratic way in the interests of workers, they can not stop to misuse power in Russian trade unions, so we have to ask for your fraternal solidarity! We ask You in accordance with trade unions solidarity to address requests and letters of protest to M.V.Shmakov and V.G.Derbin, the chairman of Inter-regional Association Leningrad Trade Union Federation and ask them to remember about democracy, solidarity and fraternity in trade union movement. It is us who play the leading part in our work, ordinary trade union members have to defend themselves trade union members’ rights. V.G.Derbin should not humiliate us.

·        Michail Viktorovitch Shmakov, ITUCs chairman (address: Russian Federation, 119119, Moscow, Leninskiy Prospect, 42, ITUC. Department of public relations of ITUC: tel\fax:+7(495)938-84-18, e-mail: e-mail -. Java-script e-mail -. Java-script )

·         Vladimir Georgievitch Derbin IA Leningrad Trade Union Federations chairman (address: Ploshad Truda, 4, Saint Petersburg, 190098 tel.571-13-75, fax 571-44-01 http://www.lfp.spb.ru e-mail: e-mail -. Java-script ).

We send this letter to 1000 primary trade union organizations in 17 countries of the world, we have translated it into 6 languages: English, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Chinese.

 Liberty, equality, fraternity


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