Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) loses membership in the National Council for Labor and Social Issues
The National Council is a body, through which the government, employers and trade unions work toward social partnership.
The new regulations imposed a numerical limitation on the representation of trade unions in the National Council. According to the document, only associations with a membership of at least 50 thousand trade union members have the right of representation.
The Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions has a membership of about 10 thousand people, which is five times less than required. Aliaxandr Iarashuk, the BKDP leader, says: “This means that our organization is out of this body. This is a very obvious challenge. Instead of restoring us in the National Council, solving the issues of salaries, benefit payments, labor protection, etc, they made moves toward eliminating our presence there”.
Mr. Iarashuk said to Radio Liberty that the document that registered the loss by BKDP of the right of negotiation with the government and employees was sent in by the Federation of Trade Unions. The Federation has in this way, according to the head of the Congress, received a monopolist right to represent the interests of the workers in negotiations with the government and employers.
Meanwhile the Federation representative Siarhei Sarokin insists that this is far from true. He believes that the new regulations do not rule out the presence of representatives of the independent trade unions during sessions of the National Council: “They can attend the Council sessions, come up with proposals and receive desired information. However, the representative of the largest trade union has the right of signature. He has the vote, he voices and discusses the proposals”.
The democratic trade unions regard this status of the Congress as degrading. Aliaxandr Iarashuk says: “Because if you draft the General Agreement but at the same time do not have your legal place in the National Council, where you must be available according to the Belarusian legislation – it does not make sense taking part in events connected with the signing of the General Agreement. If you do not have any right to take part in this process. Signing such regulations and at the same time calling for work on the general agreement require one to be a regular cynic”.