A labor conflict continues at the Moscow Linguistic School. Defending their rights, the employees created a primary organization of the Teacher union. The deputy of the Moscow City Duma, Elena Yanchuk, held an online meeting with the school’s administration. It has not brought positive results yet; obviously, the administration expects to squeeze the obstinate employees out. But this will cancel inspections by the labor inspectorate, prosecutors and the tax service.
The conflict erupted in April, when the school administration unilaterally announced a reduction in staff salaries. Not all employees wanted to endure such an infringement of their rights. They demanded the payment of the honestly earned money in full, and after being ignoring they wrote to the prosecutor’s office. It is interesting that Amet Volodarsky, the founder of the Institute of Foreign Languages and the assistant to Boris Titov, the Commissioner for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights, is standing behind the school’s administration. Volodarsky demanded in an ultimatum form that the obstinate employees “leave the school”.
After the labor conflict was made public, the administration tried to cover up the tracks. The money for the employees’ salaries was suddenly “found”. At the same time, the school management drafted a collective letter in defense of their position, that was signed by the most loyal and dependent employees of the institution. In the correspondence that followed (including with our editors), the school principal Svetlana Betenina claimed that in April she announced to employees “a temporary delay in the payment of the bonus part of the salary, and not a reduction (decrease) in salary”. However, the school staff provided the publisher with a video of the online meeting, which shows and hears how the mentioned director says:
“The school is forced to temporarily reduce the payroll. Therefore, in order for us to have this budget of ours, which we have today… well, to stretch it a little, during the very, very peak of our school’s crisis, we had to cut your wages in March, which you received, and now in April we are also forced to cut them again…”
On May 28, Moscow City Duma deputy Elena Yanchuk, who had been previously contacted by the struggling employees, held an online meeting with the school’s administration. According to her, the administration mobilized several dozens of employees for this meeting, but out of all of them, there was nobody from the department of Additional Education, which is where the protesting teachers work. In a conversation with our editorial board, the deputy shared her impressions of the meeting:
“The position of the administration is that everything was fine, but some “inadequate troublemakers” are trying to wach the dirty linen in public. They are very annoyed that the scandalous situation has received publicity. However, in essence, the school leadership failed to present any convincing facts in their favour. On the contrary, the accusations were indirectly confirmed … It is interesting that when I proposed connecting Yulia [a representative of the employees who are fighting for their rights. – Ed.], everyone began to protest. Although, it would seem, if you are right, you should not be afraid of a dialogue with your opponent. In general, the conversation left a contraversial impression”.
On the same day, a program dedicated to the struggle of Moscow teachers from school No. 1550 and the Moscow Linguistic School was published on the YouTube channel of the famous journalist Konstantin Semin.
On May 22, a primary organization of the Teacher union was created at the Moscow Linguistic School. The administration reacted nervously to this event; almost immediately after the union was established, some employees were paid wage arrears. The Teacher trade union has already sent an official letter to the school management with a request to stop the violation of the labor legislation. The Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office also responded to the appeal of the employees. At this point, it is up to the labor inspectorate and the tax service, whether to react in a timely manner or not.