Joining the Federal Industry-Wide Agreement for 2018-2020 for telecommunications and information technology companies

At the federal level, the industry-wide agreement has been adopted which sets additional obligations for and automatically extends to telecommunications and information technologies companies[1]. To refuse to join the agreement, a well-grounded refusal should be filed with the Russian Ministry of Labour by 23 June 2018.

On 22 February 2018, the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta published a Letter of the Russian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (the “Ministry of Labour”) proposing joining the 2018-2020 Federal Industry-wide Agreement for Telecommunications and Information Technology Companies (the “Agreement”). The Agreement applies to

  • companies under the jurisdiction of:
  • the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications;
  • the Russian Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications;
  • the Russian Federal Communications Agency;
  • other companies in the IT industry, unless such companies file with the Ministry of Labour a well-grounded refusal to join the Agreement by 23 March 2018.

Below we set out some of the provisions of the Agreement which impose additional obligations on employers:

  • Employers should ensure that agreements (action plans) to improve work conditions and work safety, as well as to apply sanitary and health measures, are developed. Such agreements should be agreed with the trade union (clause 4.3);
  • Employers should arrange for corporate transport (to and from work) for employees to/from remote and hard-to-reach areas and if employers finish their work late. Alternatively, employers may grant appropriate time off (clause 5.5.3);
  • A more stringent criterion has been established for lay-offs to be classified as ‘mass lay-offs’ which is a simultaneous lay-off of more than 5% of the total headcount within 90 calendar days (clause 8.2);
  • When the companies are being liquidated or there is downsizing or staff lay-offs the employees should be granted at least one paid day a week to look for new employment (clause 8.7);
  • Contributions should be made to the trade union for cultural, sports, and recreational activities in the amount of at least 0.3% of payroll costs (clause 10.2.8).

Implications for companies

For companies which did not play a part in the Agreement being concluded, the only option for refusing to join is to file a well-grounded written refusal with the Ministry, accompanied by the minutes of the discussions with the elected body of the primary trade union organisation which represents the company's employees (article 48(8) of the Russian Labour Code).

We recommend considering whether it is prudent to join the Agreement, and, if the decision is taken to refuse to join, filing a well-grounded refusal with the Ministry of Labour. The time period for filing a well-grounded refusal is 30 calendar days after the letter is published. To rule out disputes over whether the refusal to join the agreement was filed in due time, we recommend that you ensure that the refusal is filed with the Ministry of Labour on or before 23 March 2018.

If such well-grounded refusal is filed later than the specified deadline, the employees will have the right to claim (including through the court) that guarantees, compensations and benefits be granted to them in accordance with the Agreement. Labour inspectorates will have grounds to hold the company administratively liable for not complying with the Agreement.

Help from your advisers

Pepeliaev Group's lawyers will readily provide the necessary legal support when the documents are prepared which are required to refuse to join the Agreement, and on any other issues which relate to the Agreement being in effect.

[1] The Federal Industry-wide Agreement for 2018-2020 for Telecommunications and Information Technology Companies (approved by the Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications No. NN-P10-065-24274, Non-governmental organisation Communications Trade Union of Russia No. 8-648, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media No. 01ZhА-95050, and the Russian Federal Communications Agency ОD-P30-6450 on 11 October 2017)

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