Regulations of the Trade Unions of the USSR

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Regulations of the Trade Unions of the USSR


an act regulating the organizational structure of Soviet trade unions, the competence of trade union bodies, and the rights and duties of trade union members. The current regulations were approved by the Thirteenth Congress of Trade Unions on Nov. 1, 1963; amendments were added at the Fourteenth (1968), Fifteenth (1972), and Sixteenth (1977) Congresses of Trade Unions of the USSR.

The basic tasks of trade unions, as indicated in the Regulations, include a responsibility to protect the legal interests of workers and all toilers and to improve living and working conditions. Trade unions must also keep close watch to ensure that labor legislation and the rules and norms of labor protection and industrial safety are observed.

The regulations state that membership in a trade union shall be open to anyone working in a production association (combine), at a scientific industrial association, at an enterprise, on a kolkhoz, or in an institution or organization, as well as to any student in a higher educational institution, specialized secondary educational institution, or vocational-technical school. The regulations provide for the right of a trade union member to vote, to be elected to any trade union organization and to comment freely at meetings on all questions of trade union work. The regulations obligate trade union members to work honestly and conscientiously and to observe strictly state and labor discipline.

The regulations assert that the trade unions of the USSR shall enjoy the right of legislative initiative through their all-Union and republic bodies and that the trade unions shall be structured on the basis of democratic centralism and organized according to industry. The regulations define the structure and functions of trade union bodies. The basic unit of the trade union is the primary trade union organization, which unites union members working in a particular organization or studying in a particular educational institution providing that there are no fewer than five trade union members. The highest decision-making body of the primary organization is the general meeting of the members of the trade union.

In order to conduct the current business of a primary trade union organization with more than 15 members, a local factory committee (fabzavmestkom, or FZMK) is elected; those primary organizations with fewer than 15 members elect a trade union organizer and deputy trade union organizer for a term of one year. The highest trade union body in the USSR is the Congress of Trade Unions of the USSR, which convenes every five years; in the intervals between sessions, the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions is the highest body.

The primary trade union organizations of a branch of the economy within a republic, krai, oblast, raion, or city are directly guided by the corresponding republic, krai, oblast, raion, or city committee of the branch trade union. The highest bodies of branch trade unions are the unions’ congresses and the central committees elected by the congresses. Interunion bodies—republic, krai, or oblast trade union councils—are created to guide the work of local trade union bodies.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.