The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia was founded in 1990 as a national trade union centre independent of the state, political and business structures.
The FNPR is the largest association of workers in Russia affiliating 122 organisations including 42 All-Russian unions, inter-regional trade unions and 80 territorial associations of trade union organisations. Four All-Russian trade unions co-operate with the FNPR on the basis of agreements. Trade unions affiliated with the FNPR account for over 20 million members, which is about 95 percent of all organised workers in Russia.
The highest body of the FNPR is the Congress. Guiding the FNPR activities in between congresses is the General Council convening at least twice a year. Elected from among members of the FNPR General Council for the day-to-day management of the Federation’s activities is the FNPR Executive Committee. Mikhail Shmakov has been elected President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia since 1993.
The programme of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia "Decent Work as the Basis of Human Well-being and Development of the Country" adopted in 2011 by the VIIth FNPR Congress stipulates long-term objectives of the Federation. They include bringing wages in Russia to the average European level, providing for the employment of the able-bodied population, safe working conditions, decent pensions, observation of public social guarantees, higher living standards of workers and their families.
At expert level the FNPR is involved in drafting of federal and regional laws relating to social and labour spheres, in observation of trade unions’ and workers’ rights. The FNPR has been actively influencing the process of improving the Russian legislation particularly through its representatives in the inter-factional parliamentary group "Solidarity" in the State Duma (the lower chamber of Parliament).
Major episodes of this work were the adoption and further improvement of the Russian Federation’s Labour Code, the adoption of the Law on Banning the Agency Work, the ratification of ILO Conventions, such as C132 Holidays with Pay, C135 Protection of Workers’ Representatives at Enterprises, C144 Tripartite Consultation to Promote the Application of International Standards, C154 Promotion of Collective Bargaining, C173 Protection of Workers’ Claims in the event of the insolvency of their employer, as well as the adoption of other laws.
Legal services of the FNPR and its affiliates are permanently involved in judicial sittings, settling labour disputes and conflicts. There are 14-15 thousand of such cases annually, with more than 90 percent of decisions being taken in favour of employees.
The FNPR associates its strategic course with a full implementation of the mechanism of social partnership. It is based on the principle of signing collective bargaining agreements at enterprises, as well as industrial and regional tripartite agreements. Collective bargaining agreements have been signed at virtually all enterprises with functioning primary trade union organisations affiliated with the FNPR.
Formulated in 2012 in the light of the FNPR Programme and the Decent Work Concept drafted by the International Labour Organisation were standards for Decent Work as a basis for the social policy. Today, these standards are the basis for negotiations on signing collective bargaining agreements and accords.
The FNPR has been playing a leading role in the activities of the trade union party at the Russian Tripartite Commission on Regulation of Social and Labour Relations (RTC). Mikhail Shmakov, the FNPR President, is Coordinator of the RTC’s trade union party. Being regularly signed within the framework of the Commission’s activities are General Agreements between national associations of trade unions, national associations of employers, and the Government of the Russian Federation. The last such agreement has been concluded for 2014-2016.
The FNPR and its affiliates have been persistently looking for ways to promote the interests of union members within the framework of the collective bargaining process, while resorting to collective actions when necessary. Millions of Russians have been taking part in collective actions organised by the FNPR. Of major actions by the Russian workers under the aegis of FNPR, one should noted the all-Russian protest action "No to Devastating Economic Reforms!" in the fall of 1998, the all-Russian protest action "No – to Offensive on Social Rights and Interests of Workers and Population" in June 2004. Three stages of collective actions were held by the FNPR in April - May 2007 under the common slogan "For Observation of Workers' Rights, For Decent Life" Millions of signatures were collected in the work collectives in support of the FNPR’s demands. Up to 30 major labour disputes are annually originated and settled in various industries in Russia.
Since 2008, the FNPR was actively involved in a global international campaign Global Day of Action "For Decent Work" on October 7. In the face of challenges of the crisis in the economy and the social sphere, the Russian and international trade union movements have been displaying solidarity and cohesion of their actions. On October 7, 2014, the all-Russian union action was held under the motto "For Decent Work in a World without Wars and Sanctions"
Millions of Russians annually participate in May Day marches and rallies organised by the FNPR to put urgent demands to employers and executive authorities. On May 1, 2014 for the first time since the collapse of the USSR, columns of trade unionists were marching through the Red Square in Moscow.
Largely due to protest actions by trade unions it became possible to restrain the uncontrolled growth of tariffs for public utilities and energy, to increase the level of remuneration of labour, to prohibit the use of agency work, to force employers and authorities to negotiate on issues of employment, occupational health and safety, the observation of appropriate public social guarantees.
The FNPR and its affiliates have been offering significant practical assistance to employees who have decided to join a union, or to set up a trade union organisation. In 2013 alone, more than 5,500 new primary trade union organisations were founded in the trade unions affiliated with the FNPR, with 1.5 million people joining the FNPR trade unions.
The VIIIth (Extraordinary) Congress of the FNPR was held in 2013. Having considered a number of fundamental issues related to improving the performance of the trade unions, the delegates decided to make amendments to the FNPR Constitution. The main purpose of the decisions taken is as follows: strengthening union ranks, increasing their militancy; optimization of the structure in accordance with the model of the modern economy; training of highly qualified personnel; providing a strong financial basis and high performance discipline.
The FNPR has an extensive system of the trade union education. It includes two higher education institutions – the Academy of Labour and Social Relations (ATISO) in Moscow and St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions in St. Petersburg. A network of their branches is currently functioning in dozens of regions across Russia. Also successfully performing are the ATISO Institute of Trade Union Movement and 41 training and methodology centres of trade unions.
The FNPR affiliates have a developed system of information resources at their disposal, including 112 of their own publications, and 31 applications published in non-union media. Being in the arsenal of the FNPR information system are 21 union TV and radio programmes, as well as 115 Internet sites. The official press organ of the FNPR is the central trade union newspaper "Solidarity". The official FNPR website is www.fnpr.ru
The FNPR has been actively cooperating with the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The FNPR President is a member of the ILO Governing Body.
The FNPR has been maintaining fraternal relations with more than 100 national trade union centres in 70 countries of the world. The FNPR is the largest affiliated organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), currently bringing together 176 millions of union members, representing 325 affiliates in 161 countries. Mikhail Shmakov, the FNPR President, is Vice-President and member of the ITUC Executive Bureau.
The FNPR has joined the Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (PERC-ITUC), affiliating trade union centres in new independent states of Europe and the CIS. Mikhail Shmakov, the FNPR President, was elected the PERC-ITUC President.
The FNPR is also an affiliated organisation of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (VKP), uniting the CIS countries. The FNPR President was elected the VKP President.
Preserving and redounding more than century-old traditions of the labour and trade union movement of Russia, the FNPR has been actively advocating legitimate rights and interests of union members, of all people in Russia while rightfully occupying a key position in the civil society, being the largest public organisation in the Russian Federation.