Press release №2345
05.07.2021
LABOR AND MAY: RUSSIANS ABOUT WORKERS’ RIGHTS AND LABOR DAY

IN BRIEF

  • One-third of Russians perceive May Day as International Day of Workers’ Solidarity - 41%
  • Every second Russian believes that protection of labor rights of the working Russians relies on the state and employer (51% and 46% respectively)
  • 76% of respondents are ready to work more than 40 hours, if the payment for overtime hours is guaranteed by the employer.

April 29, 2021. VCIOM presents the findings of a survey on the Russian perceptions of May Day, workers’ rights and the role of trade unions in protecting the workers. 

Workers solidarity day

More than one-third of Russians perceive May Day as International Day of Workers’ Solidarity (41% vs 35% in 2005).  The percentage of those who perceive this day as a rest day which can be spent at dacha or with the family is almost similar to the percentage of those who perceive it as a spring holiday (29% and 25% respectively).

Three-quarters of Russians (75%) consider that having a holiday to praise labor is important, and more than a third of Russians intend to celebrate May Day (39%). More than half of Russians are not willing to celebrate this holiday this year (57%). The share has increased 1.5-fold since the start of the monitoring study in 1994 (34% in 1994).

The most common activity on this day is to spend time with the family (38%; +18 p.p. since 2005), to do the gardening (25%; +4 p.p. since 2019 and +14 p.p. since 2005), to work (16%; + 12 p.p. since 2005), and to see friends (11%; since 2005 this share has dropped 4-fold). Nine percent of Russians plan to go on a picnic/have a hike. Only 3% of respondents are going to take part in May Day demonstrations.

Supporting the constitutional norms

More than half of Russians support norms secured by the Russian Constitution stating that the Russian Federation respects and protects the rights of the Russian workers (74%) and the Russian government ensures the implementation of the principles of social partnership in labor relations (68%). Those with the opposite opinions are 21% and 15%, respectively.

Russians’ labor rights

Over the recent decade, 17% of Russians have experienced violation of labor rights. The most common ones are refusal to pay or to give a rest day for overtime (6%), delay in salary payment or incomplete salary payments (5%), and workplace health and safety violations (5%).

Those who experienced violation of labor rights turned to the boss to solve the issue (5%) or changed the job (4%). Five percent of those whose rights were violated did not do anything.

The top three violations to be tackled are as follows:  overtime/overwork is not paid (16%), small salary/no indexation (16%), a delay in salary payment (12%).

Protecting the Russian workers’ rights

Every second Russian considers that protection of the Russian workers’ rights depends on the state and employers (almost equal percentages - 51% and 46%, respectively). According to 21% of respondents, protection of workers’ rights relies solely on the workers.

As to political parties, respondents consider that  the United Russia party is the most effective one in protecting the rights of workers in Russia (17%); 19% say that its activities encourage more jobs (45% and 53%, respectively, are undecided) .

Most of Russians agree that the best way to protect workers’ rights is to create new jobs (82%); 16% oppose this stance.

Are trade unions fading out?

More than half of employees working at companies which have trade unions are not trade union members (54%, +6 p.p. since 2019). At the same time, the share of those who are trade union members is decreasing (44% vs 51% two years ago).

The reasons why Russians are reluctant to go to trade unions are as follows: their absence (28%), trade unions’ failure to solve disputes (13%), and it is pointless (12%).

Work week

Almost half of employees (49%) work more than 40 hours per week. One-third of Russians (37%) work the normal working hours (40 hours per week). Ten percent of employees work less than 40 hours per week.

More than half of Russians would willingly work more than 40 hours provided that the employer guaranteed the payment of hours (76%). Twenty percent of respondents, as well as women (29% vs 13% men), are not eager to work more even for extra payment.

Russian nationwide VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on April 28, 2021. A total of 1,600 of Russians aged 18 and older took part in the survey. Results are based on telephone interviews. Stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of Russian landline and mobile phone numbers was used. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes to the wording of questions and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

 

 

What does May Day mean to you personally?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondent)
  2005 2010 2019 2021
International Day of Workers’ Solidarity 35 31 32 41
Spring holiday 38 38 31 29
Day off  to spend at dacha or with the family 22 24 31 25
Social Rights Day 3 2 3 2
Don’t know 2 5 3 3

 

Do you intend to celebrate May Day this year? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondent)
  1994 2010 2018 2019 2021
Yes 65 62 56 49 39
No 34 31 41 49 57
Don’t know 1 7 3 2 4

 

In your opinion, do Russians need a holiday to celebrate labor and workers’ solidarity today? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondent)
  2019 2021
Likely yes 79 75
Likely not 18 20
Don’t know 3 5

·         Survey of April 24,2021

 

What are you going to do on May 1st?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondent)
  2005 2006 2008 2010 2018 2019 2021
To spend it with my family, children    20 27 23 21 27 39 38
To do the gardening 11 19 19 17 21 21 25
To work 4 6 8 6 13 16 16
To have friends over, to visit friends 40 20 20 21 7 12 11
Household chores, repairs, cleaning   5 9 7 5 5 8 10
Picnic, hiking 8 11 13 15 11 15 9
To take part in May 1st rallies, demonstrations  6 4 3 8 9 8 3
To be busy with my school/university exam preparation  1 1 1 1 1 1 2
No plans - - - - 3 10 8
Other** - - - - 2 5 8
Don’t know 5 3 6 6 1 0 0

In 2005-2010, the question wording was “If you are going to celebrate May Day, how will you celebrate it?

** “Other” option was not proposed

 

 

What kind of violations have you personally faced? (% of total respondents, open-ended question, any number of answers)
  % of total respondents
Refusal to pay or to give a rest day for overtime hours 6
Delay in payment of salary, incomplete payment   5
Workplace safety violations 5
Paying salary or part of it without legal employment 3
Refusal to give an annual leave 3
Employer’s failure to pay everything you are owed upon termination of your employment 2
Illegal dismissal without a two-week notice 1
Refusal to grant a sick leave 1
Low salary/mismatch between salary and work volume 1
Gender-based refusal to hire 1
Forcing the employee back to work while he/she is on vacation 0,3
Other 2
Don’t know 0,5
Those who did not answer the question 83

 

 

If your labour rights were violated, what means of protection did you use? Any number of answers (close-ended question, up to 5 answers, % of total respondents)
  % of total respondents
I talked to my superior 5
I changed my job 4
I started to work less (if they do not pay accordingly – no point working hard)  2
I used personal connections (help of my friends and relatives) 1
I went to court 1
I went to trade union, to ask advice from workers’ association 1
I upheld my rights by force   0,2
I took part in rallies , demonstrations, protests 0,2
I had to give presents, money 0,1
Other 2
No special means 5
Don’t know 0,2
Those who did not answer the question 83

 

You said you labor rights had been violated. Why did you not turn to the trade union in this regard?   (% of workers who faced violations of their labor rights but did not turn to trade unions to protect them; open-ended question, not more than 3 answers)
  % of workers who faced violations of their labor rights but did not turn to trade unions to protect them
No trade union 28
Trade union does not solve any issues 13
No point / pointless / I do not believe it 12
I’m not a member / not a trade union member 10
No time / no desire  / it takes too much time and efforts 7
They could dismiss me / I would have had more problems 6
No idea if there is a trade union / I know nothing about them 4
Trade unions act in concert with the employer   4
I was not legally employed / I did not have an agreement 3
It was solved in a natural way / a conversation was enough to solve it   2
I did not know where to turn to 2
I turned to the trade union 1
I did not want to spoil relationship with the boss  / good relationship with the boss 1
 We violated rights ourselves 1
Other 4
No rights were violated 1
Don’t know 13

 

In your opinion, what does the protection of labor rights in Russia rely on? (% of respondents, closed-ended question, not more than 2 answers)
  % of those whose rights were violated
State in general, government bodies   51
Trade union 12
Employers 46
Courts 5
Employees 21
Don’t know 8

 

In your opinion, are the rights of the workers in Russia  protected, or not? If they are, are they sufficiently protected, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondent)
  % of total respondents
Sufficiently protected 17
Insufficiently protected 50
Not protected 26
Don’t know 7

 

What specific labor rights violations should be tackled in Russia? (open-ended question, not more than 5 answers; answer of at least 2% of respondents)
  % of total respondents % of working Russians
Overwork / irregular working hours / extra hours are not paid / no fixed working hours 16 21
Small salary / no indexation / low minimal monthly wage / decrease in salary 16 16
Failure to pay salary / delay in salary 12 13
Downsizing / dismissal 7 7
Paying “under the table” 5 6
Lack of workers’ protection / arbitrary  superiors/ infringement of workers' rights 5 5
They refuse to grant a vacation  / they do not pay annual leave/ leave roster 4 6
Workplace violations  / labor code violations 4 4
They do not pay sick leave / they do not pay health services / they deny sick leave 4 5
Illegal employment 3 4
Corruption / bribery 3 3
Failure to pay benefits / lack of social benefits 2 3
Unemployment / few jobs / to create new jobs 2 2
Poor relationship / fines / penalties 2 1
Violations of safety instructions 2 2
Other (less than 2%) 18 18
Don’t know 43 41

 

Do you agree or disagree with the statement: the best way to protect labor rights is to create new jobs? (closed-ended question, one answer)
  % of total respondents % of working Russians
Likely to agree 82 81
Likely to disagree 16 17
Don’t know 3 2

 

Are you a trade union member in your company/organization, or not?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents, only working Russians were asked – 55%)
   % of total respondents
Yes 10
No 38
We have no trade union in my company/organization 8
Don’t know 0
Those who did not answer the question 45

 

Are you a trade union member in your company/organization, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents; only working Russians were asked – 55%)
   % of total respondents
Yes 10
No 38
We have no trade union in my company/organization 8
Don’t know 0
Those who did not answer the question 45

 

In your opinion, do the Russian trade unions help workers to protect their rights, or not?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
   % of total respondents
Rather yes 28
Rather not 53
Don’t know 19

 

In your opinion, what are the top priorities of the trade unions’ activities today? (closed-ended question, not more than 2  answers)
  % of total respondents % of the working Russians
Protection of workers’ rights 33 35
Help to vulnerable social groups  29 29
Implementation of social programs (distribution of vouchers, presents, etc.) 25 29
Caring for veterans 22 21
Organization of mass events 11 13
Other 4 4
None 4 3
Don’t know 17 16

 

Let us talk about the length of work week in Russia. How many hours per week do you work (including overtime, if any)? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total Men Women
About 40 hours  per week 37 33 43
Less than 40 hours  per week 10 6 15
More  than 40 hours  per week 49 58 38
Don’t know 4 3 4

 

If your employer guaranteed to pay the hours greater than the normal 40 hours, which option would you choose? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  % of the working Russians Men Women
To work not more than 40 hours per week 20 13 29
To work more than 40 hours per week, if the overtime is paid 76 84 66
Don’t know 4 3 5

 

In your opinion, what political party pays more attention to the protection of labor rights? (%  of respondents, open-ended question)
  % of total respondents
United Russia party 17
KPRF  (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) 12
LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) 6
A Just Russia- Patriots – For Truth party 4
Yabloko party 1
Communists of Russia party 0,4
Party of Growth 0,2
Russian Party of Pensioners for Social Justice 0,2
Another party 1
None 13
Don’t know 45

 

Based on what you have heard and you know, what party would you consider a party that encourages to create more jobs? (% of respondents, open-ended question, not more than 2 answers)
  % of total respondents
United Russia party 19
KPRF  (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) 7
LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia) 5
A Just Russia-Patriots – For Truth party 3
Another 2
No such party 18
Don’t know 53

 

 

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