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Women workers at emerald plant allege 'gestapo-style harassment' in naked security checks

By The Siberian Times reporter
09 December 2016

Strip searches are routinely carried out to ensure staff do not steal valuable gems at Urals mine.

News agency URA.ru spoke to an emerald mine representative who insisted: 'The checks are the same for everyone. For example, the director goes through a check after going down the mine.' Picture: Ura.ru

The female employees went to the media after claiming their complaints about a rigorous and random new naked search regime was not being taken seriously. 

They were even threatened with intrusive 'checks in a gynaecological chair' if they protested about the regime at Malyshevskoye emerald mine in the Ural Mountains, they alleged. 

In a joint statement, they stated: 'Hardest of all is the so called selective naked check up. It means that any of us can be selected in the middle of the working day and delivered to the naked check up room.

'It is a cold room with concrete floor and a cracked window. Women have to get completely undressed, while every millimetre of their clothing is checked.'

Gestapo-style harassment Russia


Gestapo-style harassment Russia


Gestapo-style harassment Russia
The women complainants wrote to human rights' regional commission and to the state labour inspection team. Pictures: Rossiyskaya Gazeta 


Both sexes have the naked checks, and for female staff they are conducted by women. 

But the women are often quizzed by male colleagues over security issues, they alleged. 

'The security men make all sorts of dirty hints as to where exactly we can hide gems - and say that after New Year we can be checked daily on a gynaecological chair. 

 'One of our girls felt so awful after one of these humiliating naked check ups that she had to call an ambulance.'

The 'harassment is harshest for workers of the ore sorting room, which only has female staff. 

Male workers are treated 'with more respect', the female complainants said, although 'they also go through routine naked checks'.

Gestapo-style harassment Russia
'Not all security people are harsh, there are some that talk to us politely and treat us with respect.' Pictures: Rossiyskaya Gazeta 


The plant is bristling with CCTV cameras and staff wear uniforms without pockets in an attempt to halt pilfering of emeralds. 

'Not all security people are harsh, there are some that talk to us politely and treat us with respect,' they said. 'But there are also some that make you feel as if you're being interrogated by the gestapo, as if their main aim is to choose a victim and humiliate her all day long.'

A new security team was drafted in last year, following a change of director at the plant. 

'We are prohibited to stay in the toilet for more than 10 minutes,' stated the women. 'If we stay longer this is considered to be violation of the regime and we have to answer all sort of questions from the security. Quite often, the answers are too intimate.

'There can be all sorts of reasons why a woman might need to spend more than 10 minutes in the toilet.

'Answering the questions is even harder, given that the security officers are mostly men.'

Gestapo-style harassment Russia


Gestapo-style harassment Russia
The naked checks have been underway since 2006. Pictures: Rossiyskaya Gazeta 


News agency URA.ru spoke to an emerald mine representative who insisted: 'The checks are the same for everyone. For example, the director goes through a check after going down the mine.'

The naked checks have been underway since 2006 - but the previous security team had connived with workers to allow the theft of emeralds, alleged a mine source. 

'Several small security companies worked here and factory workers co-operated with them, so ore was taken out,' he said.

'We stopped it - and hired proper security.'

The claim about the gynaecological chair 'is not true. We have more serious issues to address'.

The women complainants wrote to human rights' regional commission and to the state labour inspection team. 

Both offices said they would investigate, but the employees appear unsatisfied.  

But the mine official said: 'No-one ever complained about the check, except for one particular shift. Three female workers from this shift were detained as they attempted to take crystals out.'

Workers on this shift also 'violated instructions several times', he said.'They were supposed to raise a hand and show that it was empty each time after they took a gem off a belt and put it into a container, but they didn't do so.

'We had to take them to the check room after several failures of security regulations.' 

Comments (2)

Are these people being forced to work at this facility? If not and the working conditions seem intolerable, then find a suitable job elsewhere. No work in the area, then get up and go wherever there is work.
george murphy, constantine usa
11/12/2016 19:59
3
11
maybe there is a reason for that? (i am a Chef and have seen, it was by accident and it was outside the work place. that male and female employees were stuffing products in front down their pants, inside their panties. where no security dared to touch or search.) and outside around a quiet corner they took out everything, from packets of butter to vacuum packed meat and fish to Caviar and goose liver.
Benedikt, Moscow
10/12/2016 13:11
5
5
1

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