Official Trade Unions in Belarus hold a congress, independent trade unions are not invited
In Minsk a regular congress of the Federation of Trade Unions in Belarus started. The leadership of the organization plans to adopt a program for the nearest five years, and reelect the chair of the FTB.
The miscellaneous issues considered at the congress included the need for a new version of the trade union law. Several days before the event the federation leadership promised that representatives of the Belarusian congress of democratic trade unions would be invited to take part in the drafting of the law.
The chair of the independent trade union movement Aliaxandr Iarashuk says that he is not aware of the changes to be introduced, however, the law on the trade unions should first of all consider the issues of rentals, payments, registration, etc.
However, the leader of the independent trade union of radio-electronic industry Hienadz Fiadynich does not rule out that through the new draft law the federation leadership will attempt to limit the activity of the independent trade unions. The fact proving it is that during the opening of the congress Leanid Kozik mentioned the confrontation with the trade union opponents, and representatives of the independent movement were not invited to take part in the forum.
"Today FTB is a branch of a state institution and so puts on a show rather than does something to protect the rights of the working people. They will forget about contracts and other forms of workers' rights violatons. They will say everything is fine in this country, they will talk about the rule of social partnership. And, sure, they will talk about the federation having to influence all of the trade unions and enterprises so there are no independent trade unions", believes Hienadz Fiadynich.
We would like to remind you that Leanid Kozik was elected the chair of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus in the previous extraordinary congress of FTB on 19 September 2002. He was elected to this post with Aliaxandr Lukashenka actively supporting him. Under Mr. Kozik the trade unions of radio-electronic industry and agricultural machine building partly left this organization. Also, the International Labor Organization brought before the government a number of proposals to improve the situation with the rights of the trade unions. In connection with the violations of the rights of the independent trade unions a special commission of the European Union also warned the country's leadership of possible economic sanctions against Belarus.