Hi colleagues,

Here is a first union digest, filled up with last month’s events in IT. Most of them are related to recent tragic events.

IT Union is not a political organization. Our mission is to help employees fight for their rights, regardless of their citizenship. However, union is able to influence decisions taken by certain states if these decisions affect the rights of employees (e.g. in case of increase the retirement age), but it’s only possible if the majority of industry employees are the part of union. Today, IT crowd prefers to vote with it’s feet or wallet and considers union as Santa’s little helper during Christmas and the rest part of the year as r/antiwork with membership fees. And while this attitude prevails, the only thing left is to sadly observe and become depressed from the events taking place in the world.

But perhaps now, when the labor marker is rapidly changing, IT professionals will finally perceive themselves as a team that can solve work issues by means of join organized actions.

IT companies are fleeing Russia

Some of the IT companies are extracting employees from Russia (ru) in fear of sanctions while russian IT-professionals are having trouble getting a job in foreign organizations (ru).

Companies fleeing from sanctions propose several options:

  • Business trip to neutral states for several months without family
  • Transition to projects not influenced by sanctions
  • Immediate leave
  • Leave but with some time to find a new place to work

For those who work with a contract we strongly suggest not to leave voluntary but to demand official termination under state “Guarantees and compensations to employees in case of liquidation of the organization, reduction in the number or staff of the organization’s employees” of russian labor law.

Russian HRC developed a detailed instruction on how to quit properly if your employer is trying to lay you off due to sanctions:

We should also add that in case of official termination (by russian law):

  1. It’s possible to request an unemployment benefits (one should register on labor exchange)
  2. It’s easier to get a loan deferrals (credit holidays (ru)) and some loan-related insurance payments
  3. It could be possible to request special benefits for those who suffer from sanctions if russian government makes them a thing (ru)
  4. One could legally demand payment in the amount of at least two months’ salary На законных основаниях требовать выплаты не менее двух зарплат

If company (for objective reasons) is not able to fulfil §4 one should request payment as computer equipment - perhaps not this is even more reliable then salary in roubles.

For those who work without a contract we wish them best of luck and remind that it’s a pretty bad idea:

If you still think that it is, as usual, easy to just quit and find a new job, then actually there are some concerns.

According to statistics (ru) about a half of russian IT companies are working with foreign markets. And according to our data those companies are trying to evacuate from the territory of Russia. At the same time only a minor part of employees can afford to move to another country (at least they don’t have a visa). It means that we can expect a sharp reduction of russian IT-market in the near future. The emergence of a large number of IT employees looking for work and remote work in a Western company may not help either - Russian citizens are having problems getting a job abroad.

Citizens of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are having issues working abroad

Russian and Belarus citizens are having trouble working abroad. Both remote and office workers are affected.

Citizens of Ukraine are loosing their foreign jobs too.

IT Union believes that these decisions are political and lack any legal support. These decisions should be considered as discrimination on national and civil grounds since not the entire nations are subjected to sanctions but a small group of citizens and organizations. If you support such decisions now, what would you do if your employer didn’t like you citizenship?

Russia tries to hold IT specialists

It seems that the flight of IT specialists pretty much frightened Russian government (ru) so it had to urgently issue a decree of support of IT industry (ru).

IT companies receive funding (grants and soft loans), tax discounts, easing of control, expansion of sales market and an influx of cheap labor. And all these benefits will be paid for by taxes of other citizens of our country.

IT employees are simply handcuffed, they fall under the burden of IT companies and increased competition.

Of course, for IT-entrepreneurs opens a window of opportunities: cut the expenses, move office to the basement, stack tables one on another, save on electricity - after all, the owner is exempt from inspections, and an objectionable worker risks either losing his job or joining the army or losing his home having lost his preferential mortgage.

But why save the IT industry in the first place? Didn’t other industries suffer? Apparently there were two key factors:

  1. Once again government was concerned with import substitution (ru), and of course IT industry is a key in this question, especially in the context of mass flee of foreign IT companies from Russia.
  2. Russian IT specialists are one of the few who can actually afford to go abroad. 76% of the population of the Russian Federation have never been abroad at all (ru).

Global fork of IT industry

Sanctions shake an IT industry:

Massive leave and block of foreign IT increases demand of IT professionals in Russia. Perhaps that is why there are rumours about a law which would prohibit IT specialists from going abroad.

But what industry would it become? It’s the same worldwide IT but with “tsodrazvyorstka”, pirate software and Kazakhstan processor Elbrus.

*tsodrazvyorstka - is a made up word: “tsod” or “ЦОД” is a data center, “prodrazvyorstka” was a policy and campaign of confiscation of grain and other agricultural products from peasants.

In fact, now we are witnessing a global fork of the entire IT industry in Russia. It’s obvious that from professional point of view this will be challenging. Although at first this challenges would just be crack of commercial software and buying Intel/AMD hardware from Kazakhstan. But it’s not enough to make forks or make analogs of some kind. We should have our own MIT, Silicon Valley and markets for high-end solutions for full-fledged development. Will the Russian authorities be able to lay the foundation for such development, or we would have to crack and monkey-patch global IT industry? Will see.

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