Council of Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) Will Consider Possibility of Conducting Regular 6th Congress Outside Belarus
On 20 October the Council of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) will consider the possibility of conducting the regular 6th congress outside Belarus, because all of the attempts to find a place in this country have failed. Everywhere they met with refusal. Another issue on the agenda is a protest that BKDP planned to stage on 22 October in Banhalor Square.
After Minsk City Executive Committee granted permission to stage a protest against pressure on the independent trade unions, the authorities in fact made the protest impossible, having demanded contracts with a number of establishments such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, "Ambulance", "Minsk Forestation Committee", etc. "We have to pay for their services worth 5 thousand US dollars, and submit appropriate receipts", reported Aliaxandr Iarashuk, chair of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, in an interview with Radio Liberty. So, as the trade union leader said, we would decide what to do: "Whether to go to the square, or file a complaint with the procurator's office for artificial barriers and obstacles to the activity of our organization".
The regions also report cases of pressure on the democratic trade unions. Andrei Khanievich of Hrodna Association "Azot" claims foremen come under the heaviest pressure on the part of the authorities that say: "You should leave the independent trade union for the official one".
Vasil Korabau of Salihorsk says that today the independent trade unions remain an organization, whose power the authorities must acknowledge: "The independent trade unions of Belarus now have more than 7.5 thousand people and we continue to grow. People come to us. People believe us".
The democratic trade unions was to have prepared a regular 6th congress in November. But now, says Aliaxandr Iarashuk, they have to reconsider the term and the possibility of holding the forum in Belarus: "We should observe our Charter and the regulations of the Justice Ministry. Unless we hold a congress within an appropriate term, as provided by the Charter and the related regulations of the Justice Ministry, the latter may issue a warning or even shut us down. This is outrageous. They will issue us a warning, while we simply cannot find premises. If this situation continues, we will have to look for premises outside Belarus. In any case we will hold the congress. If not in Belarus, then outside this country".