Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
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Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
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BKDP REPRESENTATIVES DEMANDED THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP VIOLATIONS OF TRADE UNION RIGHTS



Yesterday, on 17 May, 13 BKDP representatives attended the meeting of the Council for improving social and labor legislation under the auspice of Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Belarus (named hereinafter as Council). The issue "On how further to improve social dialogue in Belarus" was put in the agenda of the Council meeting. However, the representatives of BKDP’s affiliates urged the Council to consider the specific facts of continuing violations of the rights of independent trade unions since the presented agenda witnessed that the government once again was trying to deviate from implementing the known 12 Recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO). It should be reminded that it is exactly in accordance with the obligations to the ILO taken by the government of Belarus to implement ILO recommendations the above Council was set up in January 2009 as a tool to restore the rights of trade unions in the country.

This time, apart from its regular members - Sergei Antusevich, Gennady Fedynich and Vasili Levchenkov - the Council meeting was attended by the BKDP President Alexander Yaroshuk, BKDP head of legal department  Elena Eskova and eight representatives of the primary organizations of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP). The Council Meeting was chaired by the Minister of Labor and Social Protection Marianna Schetkina and her deputy, Igor Starovoitov. All present at the meeting had the opportunity to take the floor.
The BKDP President Alexander Yaroshuk in his intervention stressed that the situation with trade union rights in Belarus has lately worsened significantly.

The newly formed independent union at RUPP "Granite" Company in Mikashevichi town was denied legal address. The members of this union are pressed by the employers and local authorities so as to make them leave the organization. The union leaders are subjected to continuous harassment.  The chairman of the independent union Oleg Stakhaevich and his deputy Nicholai Karyshev were illegally dismissed.

Pressure on members of independent unions at «Belshina" Company in Bobruisk and in OAO «Oil Refinery" in Mozyr has not terminated. The workers are forced to leave their unions under the threats of having their fixed-term contracts not extended or their professional skills not confirmed. In a similar way the white-collar workers are forced to leave the Independent Union of Miners (NPG) at OAO “Belaruskali” Company. This case needs special comment as the pressure on NPG members was noted for the first time in 20 years of existence of this union.
Discrimination of independent unions on the ground of affiliation keeps on taking place. Independent union at OAO “Naftan” Oil refinery for more than one and a half years fails to sign collective agreement. The employer of Bobruisk plant of tractor parts and components is trying to deprive the Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB) of its premises on the territory of the company. The union leader Mikhail Kovalkov for 6 months has been deprived of the right of free access to workplaces of union members, the SPB members are unable to use the company sports and fitness complex, which, however, is available to members affiliated to the official Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB).

 Being a member of the National Council on Labor and Social Affairs (NCLSI) Alexander Yaroshuk was also unable to make use of its rostrum and to voice there the acute problem of the rights of trade unions in the country. On February 24 I was deliberately not admitted to the room where a regular meeting of the NCLSI was held, and the government has preferred to pretend that nothing has happened.

The BKDP and its affiliates have been denied organization and carry out of mass actions on the 1st of May Solidarity Day, whereas the FPB union has received such permission.
 On May 10 at the meeting of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee the chief of ideological department Ruslan Trukhan explicitly stated that the authorities have obliged the directors of the companies in the region where the independent unions were functioning, (especially in "Belaruskali" mining company) to withdraw members from these unions. In simple terms it meant elimination of independent unions.

            "All these facts speak for a targeted and coordinated nature of the campaign that has been waged against BKDP and its organizations in recent years. The government has shown no interest in improving the situation with trade union rights in the country and refuses to implement the recommendations of the ILO ", - said Alexander Yaroshuk.

            BKDP Vice-Chairpersons Sergei Antusevich and Gennady Fyadynich, chairperson of Free Metalworkers Union (SPM)  Vasili Levchenkov,  leader of the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) of "Belaruskali" Sergei Cherkasov and the head of the NPG repair machine shop union Sergei Losik, chairman of the independent union at "Mozyr Oil Refinery "Yuri Shvets, the representative of the Independent Trade Union of RUPP " Granite " Company Anatoly Litvinko have supplemented Alexander Yaroshuk’s intervention with concrete facts proving the discrimination of members of independent trade unions in enterprises. The BKDP Legal adviser Elena Eskova stressed that from the point of view of legislation the implementation of the ILO recommendations with the aim of eliminating trade union rights violations in our country has no progress.
Alexander Yaroshuk and Sergey Cherkasov handed over to Marianna Shchetkina in written form the demands to eliminate the voiced violations of trade union rights.

            As a result of the discussion it was agreed upon certain steps that were to be taken by the Ministry of Labor and employers' associations to consider the demands of the BKDP.

             Before June 15 the BKDP will send the Minister of Labor Marianna Shchetkina a set of documents related to violations of the rights of the independent union in the RUPP "Granite" Company and its leaders.  Prior to September 1 the BKDP will send the Ministry of Labor its proposals to amend legislation governing the establishment and operation of trade unions.

            In her turn, Marianna Shchetkina promised that she would personally deal with the scandalous statements of the officials from the Minsk regional executive committee calling on forcing the workers to leave Independent Union of Miners at “Belaruskali" Company. The Minister of Labor assured that the Council will soon return again to the question of resuming collective bargaining process between independent union at “Naftan Oil Refinery” and its employer.

            Deputy Director General of the Belarusian Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Viktor Timofeev has promised to consider the issue of providing pass- permits for the leaders of the independent union at “Mozyr Oil Refinery” and free trade union in Bobruisk plant of tractor parts and components.



23.05.2012





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