Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
Trade Union Association
BELARUSIAN CONGRESS
OF DEMOCRATIC TRADE UNIONS

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Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
Belarusian Independent Union (BNP) Free Metalworkers' Union (SPM)
Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB) Belarusian trade Union of workers of radio electronic industry (REP)
>БКДП-ЧЛЕН МЕЖДУНАРОДНОЙ КОНФЕДЕРАЦИИ ПРОФСОЮЗОВ (МКП)

BKDP-Member of International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC)
   

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General Information



Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
 
Background, aims and objectives
The origin of independent trade union movement in Belarus goes back to early 90s of the last century when the crisis of soviet system was evident everywhere and the changes were inevitable.
The decline of soviet economy, drastic impoverishment of almost entire population in the USSR and in Belarus in particular, gave rise to strong discontent among the workers. Low wages and salaries, shortages of food products and goods of daily necessity in the shops, delays in payment of salaries and pensions became the reasons for numerous strikes nationwide. The strikes, however, were organized not by the official state trade unions but were initiated by the striking committees set up at the large industrial enterprises and headed by most active workers and informal leaders. As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and creation of independent and sovereign states at the post soviet territory these processes became more intensive.

After the successful large-scale strikes in Minsk, in regional towns and big industrial enterprises across the country the striking committees gradually were transformed into free and independent trade union organizations and later into regional organizations.

By the year of 1993 there were several large independent union organizations in Belarus: the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP), affiliating the unions of chemical workers and independent union of miners in Sioligorsk, the Belarusian Free Trade Unions (SPB) affiliating workers of different crafts, Free Metalworkers’ Union (SPM) and the Democratic Trade Union of Transport Workers (DPT), affiliating national union of air-traffic controllers. Soon the necessity to be united became apparent and in 1993 the founding Convention was held at which the national trade union center was proclaimed under the name of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
Today the BKDP has the following affiliated organizations:
  • Belarusian Independent Union (BNP);
  • Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB);
  • Free Metalworkers’ Union (SPM).

The BKDP membership is nearly 10 000 members as per the beginning of 2006.
The largest among the BKDP member organizations is the BNP. It affiliates primary-level union organization of miners (NPG) at RUP “PO Belaruskaliy” in Soligorsk – 4100 members; OAO “Mosyr oil refinery”- 1300; OAO “GrodnoAzot” chemical company; OAO “Polimir”chemical company – 900 and  several other organizations.

The Free and independent trade unions function at the plant producing automobile and tractor parts and aggregates and OAO “Belshina” tyre – making company in Bobruisk; “Zenit” company in Vileika of Minsk region, RUP “Les” in Baran of Vitebsk region and at many other plants and enterprises of the country. Totally the BKDP affiliates more than 30 primary-level independent trade union organizations.

 
With the aim to implement the statutory tasks and objectives the BKDP shall:
  • express, represent and protect the rights and interests of its member organizations and of their individual members  in public bodies, in relations with employers and their organizations as well as with other public associations and institutions; coordinate collective trade union actions on the national level, aid the affiliates of the regional and enterprise level;
  • develop the strategy and tactics for the activities of free and independent trade union movement in Belarus;
  • participate in lawmaking and perfection of the legislation and exercise the public control over the observance of labor laws;
  • design the draft of General Agreement, negotiate with Government and employers organizations, assist in introducing and expanding the best practices of collective bargaining and conclusion of collective agreements as the major instruments of regulating industrial and labor relations between the workers and the employers and their organizations;
  • participate in state approved programs aimed at liquidating poverty and unemployment;
  • render free legal and other services and assistance to the affiliates in all the spheres within the BKDP statutory activities;
  • bring to light the cases of violation of the rights of trade unions and their members and protect them by all legitimate and accessible means, including the appeal to the ILO and other international organizations.

From the very emergence of the independent trade unions the officials have been trying by all means to put up stubborn resistance to the formation and the development of independent trade union movement in Belarus. It became particularly evident when the today’s administration has come to power in 1994. On various pretexts the state authorities used to refuse the independent unions in state registration or providing legal address. The state officials are constantly interfering into trade union affairs and hinder the normal work of the unions. They fire the most active union members and the union leaders. Under the threats of being fired or threatening not to extend or sign the work contracts the employers force the workers to leave the independent unions and join the state-controlled Federation of trade unions. The state officials are doing everything to fully demolish the independent trade union movement on the territory of Belarus. All this has become a major reason for several independent unions in 2000 to lodge the complaint to the ILO on the grounds of the violation by the Belarus government of the ILO Conventions №№ 87 and 98 On the right to organize and to bargain collectively. The above Conventions were ratified by the Government of Belarus in due course.

Despite numerous measures undertaken by the ILO (providing technical assistance to the government, sending experts, sending independent Commission of Inquiry, setting up of independent monitoring of the situation by the EC and etc.) the state authorities go on ignoring the recommendations of the ILO and the European Union which are directed at improving the situation with trade union rights in Belarus. Instead of implementing the recommendations they deliberately lead the situation to the withdrawal from Belarus of the beneficiary status of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in trade with countries-members of the European Union.





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