Consent from a senior trades union body is no longer required for firing heads of trades union organisations for disciplinary violations


Legal Update No. 108

Goltsblat BLP advises that Ruling No. 1369-О-P of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation of 3 November 2009 adopted in connection with a complaint about the provisions of part one, article 374 of the Russian Labour Code violating constitutional rights and freedoms was published on 14 December 2009.

The relevant provision of the Russian Labour Code states that, provided the relevant senior trades union body has given its preliminary consent, employers may, on the grounds of repeat failure to perform job duties without reasonable excuse and where disciplinary sanctions have previously been imposed (clause 5, part one, article 81 of the Russian Labour Code), dismiss heads (and deputy heads) of elected collegial trades union bodies not released from their main jobs, by-passing the general dismissal procedure.

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation ruled this provision inoperative and non-applicable, stating that it reiterates a similar a provision of part two, article 235 of the Code of Labour Laws of the Russian Federation that was ruled unconstitutional by Constitutional Court Ruling No. 3-P of 24 January 2002.
Once again, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation noted that:

  • this legal regulation disproportionately restricts the rights of the employer as a party to an employment contract and of the relevant economic entity and owner of the business;
  • this restriction is not called on to protect rights and freedoms envisaged by the Constitution of the Russian Federation, but rather violates freedom of economic activity and ownership rights and runs counter to the essence of the freedom of labour principle;
  • this provision grants unreasonable privileges to employees that are members of trades union bodies and have not been released from their main jobs, compared to other employees, and creates opportunities for abuse of rights, which is incompatible with the provisions of article 19 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation establishing equality before the law and justice and guarantees of equal human and civil rights and liberties.

All this means that employee dismissal in the given context will not require any preliminary consent from the relevant senior elected trades union body.

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