| FNI NEWS
Norwegian-Russian Trade Union Co-operation
(22.09.2011) A recent evaluation of Norwegian-Russian trade
union co-operation projects finds the co-operation to be close and based on a
principle of equality. It has led to stronger cross-border links, especially
between Finnmark and Murmansk. However, mechanisms to integrate lessons learned
into regular work have been too weak.
The evaluation, which has been
commissioned by The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), has been
carried out by FNI Research Fellow Pål Wilter
Skedsmo. It has focused on co-operation projects that LO and various trade
unions organized under LO have conducted with trade unions of the Federation of
Independent Russian Trade Unions (FNPR), especially in north-western Russia in
the period 2001-2010. These are projects that have been supported by the
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1992.
> Download the evaluation
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, workers' rights
in Russia have been under pressure on a range of issues, from irregular
payments to the right to strike. The trade unions have had to reposition
themselves compared to Soviet times when they were closely linked to the Soviet
power structure. Russians seem to have little trust in trade unions, but at the
same time, workers are aware that they have few others to trust when their
rights as workers are challenged. For this reason, trade union membership
remains at a high level in companies with trade union branches.
In his evaluation report, Skedsmo
finds that the co-operation between Norwegian and Russian trade unions is based
on a principle of equality and a Norwegian wish to contribute to the
readjustment among Russian trade unions navigating in a market economy. All in
all this has led to approximately 200 different seminars and projects focusing
on a broad range of issues, such as gender equality, social partnership and
member recruitment, to name a few. Throughout the evaluation period, progress
has been made in managing the projects on equal terms. It has further led to
closer links and co-operation on a regular basis outside the projects,
especially between the trade union movements in the regions of Finnmark and
However, the project partners should work further to make sure
that lessons learned at the seminars are integrated into regular work.
Norwegian and Russian perspectives on gender issues differs to such a degree
that it has proven to be a challenging topic to work with, but still has some
merits in addressing pressing issues. A range of projects have targeted youth,
which is important for future ability to recruit new members. It is recommended
that the co-operation maintains focus on the trade union movement in the
Barents region; that projects are developed with long term goals in mind; and
that lessons learned are integrated into regular work to a greater degree on
the Russian side.
Federation of Independent Trade
Unions in Russia.
Successor to the Russian branch of
All-Union of Soviet Trade Unions.
FNPR maintains close links
with the United Russia party.
49 member trade unions countrywide, with a total of 25
million workers (2011), down from 54 million (1990).
Organises 95% of trade union workers in the Russian
Arkhangelsk oblast: 19 member trade
unions, organising 130,000 workers. Trade unions for teachers, workers in
shipyards and public health workers count for more than 50%.
Murmansk oblast: 15 member trade unions, organising 80,000
workers. Trade unions for teachers, public health workers and miners count for
more than 50%.
Download the evaluation report
Read related commentary
article in Norwegian
Read more about FNI's research on
politics and cooperation in the High North.
Contact person: Pål Wilter
|The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an
independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental,
energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a
multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science,
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