New instruction of Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus restricts rights of independent trade unions

2009 2009-08-03T17:33:14+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The presidium of the Council of Trade Union Federation of Belarus adopted an Instruction on order of development, adopting and signing the collective contract.

The Trade Union Federation (TUF) recommends signing one collective at an enterprise. The instruction says that if there are several trade union organizations at an enterprise, the biggest of them (read TUF) triggers conducting collective negotiations, creates a joint commission on collective negotiations (the joint trade union body) and signs the collective contract with the employer.

As the press service of the Trade Union Federation says, the common collective contract will allow to ‘secure equal social guarantees to all workers’ and avoid conflicts among employees. As stated by the authors if the idea, this innovation of the Federation is meant to ‘meet the wishes of small trade unions, not attached to the TUF’.

Alexander Yarashuk, the leader of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU), called this document ‘a rather doubtful present to the government’.

The BCDTU believes that the Instruction that recommends signing one collective contract at an enterprise regardless of the number of trade unions there was adopted in violation of the Belarusian laws on trade unions and ILO Conventions.

The new Instruction of the Federation contradicts to the norms of ILO #98 Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, as well as the Law on Trade Unions and the Labor Code of Belarus, giving all trade unions the right to initiate and carry out collective negotiations. Creating collective bodies for conducting collective negotiations between structures of different trade unions can be carried out only by agreement of the parties. The Federation doesn’t have the right to take the status of representative with obliging other trade unions to obey its plan. The TUF Instruction is an inner document of the organization and has no legal force in relation to other bodies, in particular, independent trade unions.

The TUF initiative will have a negative e impact on the dialogue between the Belarusian government and the International Labor Organization, aimed at fulfilling its recommendations and returning EU trade preferences to Belarus.

‘This is another rather doubtful present of the Trade Union Federation to the government. The inner regulatory document of a public organization is set above the law, because it imposes the procedure of collective contracts upon the government and employers. It will be interesting to see how the parties of social partnership will take this initiative: whether they will follow this instruction, or will obey the Law. It’s funny that an attempt of full usurping the process of collective negotiations is represented like taking care of the rights of independent trade unions,’ Alexander Yarashuk said in an interview to Belarusian Partisan.