Work Veteran Sues Administration and trade Union Committee of Belarusian Metallurgical Plant

2007 2007-03-15T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to

A worker, who has 42-year service record, has been deprived of a pension bonus for not being a member of a trade union of the official Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus.

‘All understand that this is revenge of the administration and the trade union committee for my pointing at violations in the activity of the official trade union’, Anatol Stsepanenka says. ‘I worked at BMP for 22 years. They gave me a diploma for conscientious work, a certificate of a work veteran of BMP and deprived of the bonus to a small pension. They spit me in the face, simply wanted to revenge to a worker for his independence and self-esteem.’

The matter is that during the last seven years the status of the plant’s trade union changed three times. In 2000, when it became known that the then leader of the FTB Uladzimir Hancharyk intends to run for presidency, the trade union left the federation and became an independent trade union organization of steelworkers. When Kozik headed the FTB, the trade union returned there. Soon the FTB established a ‘grey’ trade union and started transferring hundreds of members of the oppositional trade unions there without their agreement. The people were accepted to the trade unions on special lists, without their agreement, 40 to 90 people at a time. The administration started extracting the trade union fees from their wages, having no permission, unlike the law demands. Anatol Stsepanenka wrote about it to the law machinery.

It’s worth mentioning that the plant director confessed the violations when the worker applied to him, but the money wasn’t returned. Anatol Stsepanenka continued insisting on restoring the justice. He informed the Ministry of Justice that the governing organs of the primary organization of the BMP weren’t elected, but were self-appointed. The Ministry of Justice conducted a check-up and confirmed the fact of violations.

‘It happened so that non-elected persons appeared at the head of a public organization at the country’s biggest enterprise. What right did they have to take decisions, sign documents, gather and manage the membership fees?’ asks Mr. Stsepanenka.

He also said that in 2005 the collective agreement between the trade union and the plant administration was amended. As a result of the amendment only members of the industry trade union are paid pension bonuses.

‘I did not write an application about withdrawal from the trade union and don’t know why I was deprived from membership. However, the enterprise profits from the work of all workers irrespective of their membership in trade unions. I am sure that deprival of a worker with 42-year record of service of a bonus to his small pension is unfair and lawless,’ Anatol Stsepanenka said.

After seven sittings Zhlobin city court didn’t satisfy the worker’s suit and Anatol Stsepanenka has appealed the verdict to Homel regional court.

‘Of course, it’s hard to believe that the court will take the worker’s side against the director and the official trade union, but I can’t keep silence. I have to struggle to respect myself’, Stsepanenka stated.