Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
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"Ostrich policy"



The BKDP leader Alexander Yaroshuk addressed the National Council on Labor and Social Issues (NCLSI) Co-Chairpersons: Vladimir Semashko, First Deputy Prime-Minister, Leonid Kozik, Chairperson of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) and Anatoly Kharlap, Chairperson of the Confederation of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Employers). The address appeared due to concerns related to NCLSI’s activities. This important structure set up to influence directly economic and social policies has not had any meeting since January. The BKDP leader considers this fact as an unacceptable one since the problems in economy and social spheres affect hundred of thousands of Belarussian workers are accumulating rapidly and demanding their appropriate solutions.


As a NCLSI member, Alexander Yaroshuk insists on resuming regular Council meetings in the next two weeks. He proposed to put the most burning issues on agenda . They are: the draft of the new Law «On Trade Unions», new version of the Law «On Professional Pension Insurance», preservation of privileges for the most socially vulnerable groups of citizens of the country, implementation of Recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and bringing preferences in trade with EU countries back to Belarus . The leader of independent national trade union center also considers that the ways and terms of the creeping privatization of the industrial enterprises which has begun in the country is of vital importance.

To National Council on Labor and Social Issues Co-chaipersons:

Vladimir Semashko - First Deputy of Prime-Minister

Leonid Kozik - Chairperson of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB)

Anatoly Kharlap - Chairperson of the Confederation of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (Employers)

Dear Mr. V. Semashko, Mr. L. Kozik and Mr. A. Kharlap,

The reason to address you is my concerns connected with the activity of National Council on Labor and Social Issues. It is impossible to consider normal that this important body set up to influence directly social and economic policy, has never gathered for the session since January. From my point of view, this fact cannot have any explanations, or justifications. Especially on a background of rapid increase in recent time of number of problems in social and economic spheres having negative impact on interests of hundreds of thousands of workers and demanding prompt reaction on the part of all parties of social dialogue in our country.

Among these problems is the Law "On Professional Pension Insurance" adopted during the first reading at spring session. It foresees cancellation of payment of higher pensions to workers who work in harmful conditions. There is also a problem of cancellation of social privileges for the whole group of the unprotected, needy citizens of the country (pensioners, students, invalids, etc.). Among these problems is the withdrawal of Belarus from the the European Union system of preferences in trade this summer because of regular infringement of the rights of trade unions. It is the doubtful initiative on the part of the government to adopt a new law «On Trade Unions», seriously worsening condition of setting up and functioning of the workers' unions. At last, it is the creeping privatization of the industrial enterprises which has begun in the country. It is being done privately, behind the closed doors; it excludes any broad informing of the public and participation of representatives of trade unions in this process. Such a situation is completely unacceptable. I think, you won’t deny the fact that even each of the problems mentioned here separately needs steadfast attention to itself as it touches upon interests of the state and destiny of many and many people, our compatriots. No one can say what may happen when all these problems, which have negative potential, are combined together. They may cause serious growth of social intensity in the near future and to lead to shocks in a society. In such a situation to behave like an ostrich hiding its head in sand and to pretend that nothing happens is not the best policy that state officials of the country having high authority power and resposibilities can afford. As a member of the National Council on Labor and Social Issues and taking into account the above-stated, I insist that the next session of the Council should be organized in the nearest two weeks and the following questions were included into its agenda:

1. On considering the final version of the Law "On Professional Pension Insurence" and introducing final ammendments concerning preservation of the full size pentions to workers employed in harmful conditions.

2. On preserving the privileges for most socially vulnerable groups of citizens of the country (pensioners, students, invalids, etc.).

3. On measures aimed at implementation of Recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and bringing back preferences in trade with the EU countries to the country.

4.On exclusion of articles seriously worsening terms and conditions of setting up and functioning workers' unions from the draft of the new Law "On Trade Unions»

5. On issues related to implementation of privatization process and on measures ensuring broad informing and participation of trade unions and broader public in it.

A. Yaroshuk

BKDP Chairman




12.09.2007





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