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Moscow transport workers to sue employers for suspending unvaccinated drivers without pay

Source: Open Media

A trade union representing transport workers in Moscow has announced plans to file a class-action lawsuit against their employers for suspending unvaccinated drivers from work without pay.

The Interregional Trade Union of Public Transport Workers intends to sue both the Moscow subway system and the state-owned company Mosgortrans, which operates bus, trolleybus, and tram networks in the capital. According to the news outlet Open Media, the trade union’s chairman, Yuri Dashkov, announced the lawsuit at a Communist Party (KPRF) round table in the State Duma on July 13.

The suspensions are affecting transport workers who refused to sign a vaccination commitment contained in one of the annexes to their employment contracts. According to Dashkov, ten people have reached out to his trade union for help so far. “In actual fact there’s more of them, although they were only going to suspend them from the fifteenth [of July],” he told Open Media.

In a letter appealing to the KPRF for help “restoring violated rights,” the trade union chairman said that transport workers have already begun to discuss a strike. In turn, the KPRF stated its support for the suspended workers.

Nikolai Gostev, who heads the independent trade union GUP Moskovsky Metropoliten, told Open Media that four unvaccinated subway system employees have turned to his union for help after getting suspended from work without pay. One of the workers couldn’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, while the others refused of their own free will. All of the suspended workers want to sue their employer, Gostev said. 

Since mid-June, Moscow and 27 other Russian regions introduced mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 for people working in certain sectors. In Moscow, employers were permitted to suspend unvaccinated staff members from work. The Kremlin also stated that people without immunity to the coronavirus “will not be able to work in all areas.”

According to survey data from Superjob published by RBC on July 13, 11 percent of Russians have been turned down for a job because they weren’t vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

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