Visiting secretary general of International Trade Union Confederation meets with Belarusian unionists
Guy Rider, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation, met with representatives of the pro-government Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus and two independent trade unions in Minsk on Tuesday.
The meeting focused on the need for unity among the country's trade unions, Yaraslaw Yarashuk, chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Trade Unions, told BelaPAN.
The matter is especially "topical" now amid the global financial crisis when trade unions should play an increased role in the protection of employees, he said.
At the meeting, Mr. Rider pledged the Confederation's help for the efforts of Belarusian trade unions to alleviate effects of the crisis. "The International Trade Union Confederation could give us necessary information about how risks could be minimized in relations with the International Monetary Fund," Mr. Yarashuk said.
He described the meeting as successful. "The very fact of the meeting with the secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation was unimaginable just a year ago," he said.
Representatives of the Belarusian Trade Union of Electronic Industry Workers also participated in the meeting.
Mr. Rider arrived in Minsk to take part in an international workshop on the implementation by the Belarusian government of the International Labor Organization (ILO)'s recommendations.
The ILO Commission of Inquiry adopted the 12 recommendations for the Belarusian government in late 2004, after considering a 200-page report compiled by a special commission formed to probe the government`s alleged interference in the activities of trade unions.
In December 2006, the European Union decided to suspend Belarus` trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences as punishment for Minsk`s failure to respect independent trade unions` rights and carry out the ILO`s recommendations.