March 30, 2017

Supporting the strike of the textile workers in Kriva Palanka

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights supports the strike of textile workers from Kriva Palanka, on staff of the Shoe Making Company KADORO OTTO export-import, Kriva Palanka. The employees of KADORO OTTO have been on strike for a number of days in occupying the factory yard protesting against their unpaid wages and employment benefits for January and February 2017, and yesterday the strike was moved to the square in Kriva Palanka.

While a mediation meeting has taken place with the representatives of the employer, where the Helsinki Committee and the Association of Textile and Leather Workers “The Quiet Majority” also had representatives, with an aim of prompt payment of the due wages and employment benefits for the workers, the employer representative informed us that no wages and employment benefits will be paid because the factory has no available funds on its accounts.

We wish to remind the public, according to the Law on Labour Relations, the employers must compensate their workers all the wages and employment benefits in arrears which may not exceed a period of one month. The salary (wages) will be paid no later than 15 days after the period which is subject of payment. Pursuant to the Law on Labour Relations, the employers must make payment of the net salary and pension and disability benefits. The justification used by the employer that it has no available funds on its accounts may not exempt the employer from its legal duty of due and timely payment of salary and employment benefits.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights already raised the alarm regarding this issue, initiating a procedure for non-scheduled on-sight inspection with the State Labor Inspectorate, which found that the employer KADORO OTTO has failed to make payment of the above salaries and employment benefits to its employees, and issued an Order to the employer and its officer in charge to remedy the issue, i.e. to make payment of all due salaries and employment benefits no later than 8 days after the inspection. Since the employer failed to act according to the issued order, the Helsinki Committee requested the procedure to be extended after the inspection was completed, and that the State Labor Inspectorate pursued its legal duties and submitted request with the Courts for infringement of the rules. The Helsinki Committee will continue to monitor this case, as well as all other cases of violation of workers’ rights in the textile industry, and provide free legal counsel for them.

We wish to urge the employer, a Shoemaking Company KADORO OTTO, DOOEL export-import, KrivaPalanka, to meet its legal obligations and to go ahead and make payment of all outstanding salaries and employment benefits it owes to its employees for January and February 2017, otherwise we will seek from the State Labor Inspectorate and all state authorities to act according to their legal obligations in order to protect the workers’ rights of the KADORO OTTO employees.