At WSA’s last International Committee meeting, a member brought to our attention that CNT-AIT France has taken up the cause of the Russian Courier’s Union, whose president Kirill Ukraintsev, this day, June 25th, is facing trial by the Russian state looking at up to five years in prison for organizing.
Today, in solidarity with the Russian Courier’s Union, we are publishing a translation of the CNT-AIT’s leaflet, which they are distributing today. The translation was received through KRAS, the Russian Section of the International Workers Association (IWA). The statement gives the background of the repression, and it calls us to actions of solidarity.
Putin’s Russia also continues its internal war against workers and trade unionists!
Kirill Ukraintsev, leader of the Russian delivery workers’ union “Courier” has been detained pending his trial on June 25. He is charged with “calling or participating in an unauthorized rally more than twice within 180 days” and faces up to five years in prison.
The “courier” union, formed in 2020, gathers precarious delivery workers, including migrant workers, working for Delivery Club, a Russian company that dominates the country’s delivery market. Since 2020, it has led numerous strikes demanding payment of stolen wages, the abolition of unfair fines and an end to the increase in charges on workers. It also demands real employment contracts for delivery workers.
Last April, Delivery Club unilaterally decided to change the method of calculating remuneration, causing a loss of 20% of the couriers’ wages. And this at a time when Russia is experiencing a sharp rise in inflation!
In response to this scandalous measure, the couriers started a strike. On April 25, on the 4th day of the conflict, during a demonstration of delivery people in front of the Delivery Club offices, some of them were arrested by the police then released without charge. On the same day, the police searched the home of the president of “Courier,” Kirill Ukraintsev, confiscating all his computer equipment and that of his family. As a result of the search, he was remanded into custody and charged under Article 212.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which recognizes as a crime calling for or participating in unauthorized gatherings. He is accused of calling on social networks for deliverymen and cab drivers to protest against labor rights violations. He now faces up to five years in prison for “repeated violation of the procedure for organizing rallies.”
The call for international solidarity issued by the union “Courier” states:
“The independent trade union Courier in Russia is a grassroots organization that annoys the companies. It invents and develops new tactics of struggle in the field of precarious work. For the past two years, violent repression has been carried out against its activists, using both economic strangulation through repeated court cases and direct physical coercion. Now Kirill Ukraintsev, president of the Courier trade union, is under the control of the system set up by the Delivery Club, owned by the O2O media holding company. By eliminating Kirill, they want us to stop fighting.
Today we ask all comrades who are disgusted with the oppression of man by man and the alienation of labor by capital to support our organization of precarious workers (…)”.
We call on our foreign companions to take part in these actions of solidarity:
– Participate in picket lines and rallies near the Russian embassy in your country or city. You can refer to the video with words of support from Kirill Ukraintsev, his family and the Courier union. Send all videos, photos and links to our Telegram chat bot @CourierUnionFeedbackBot or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Give this case maximum publicity. Publish press releases in the media, inform on your websites, inform your country’s delivery people, …
- Produce and publish visuals, pictures, stickers, posters, graffiti, etc.
- We need to make contacts within the international trade union movement. Exchange of experience. This is perhaps the best help for the development of independent unions.
We will be happy to communicate and work together. Contact for any questions: https://t.me/JORALOMOVOY“
The section of the International Workers’ Association in Russia supports the demands for an end to the repressions against the Courier trade union, for the immediate and unconditional release of its president and the lifting of all charges against him. These repressions are a dangerous precedent and the beginning of a new offensive of the authorities against the workers’ movement in Russia with a view to its complete defeat. We call on the companions of our International to carry out actions of solidarity and protest, and to spread this information as widely as possible.
Kirill Ukraintsev is now facing up to five years in prison and his trial is scheduled for 25 June. The government, which is not short of support for companies in this period of war, has decided to respond to workers’ discontent by repressing those who are the most combative.
In this case, the freedom of a man is at stake, and with him, the future of trade union freedoms and the rights of platform workers.
In the words of our comrades: Couriers are not slaves! Solidarity is our weapon!
Freedom for Kirill Ukraintsev!