Rally of trade union activists in Minsk
Activists of the Democratic Trade Unions Congress held a rally dedicated to the World Day of Struggle for Decent Labor in the 50-hoddzia Kastrychika Park.
Members of the Belarusian Radio and Electronic Workers Union (REWU) also came to the park. They had also applied for holding a rally there, but the officials authorized this action only to the Democratic Trade Unions Congress. According to RFE/RL the officials offered carrying out a monitoring of the labor conditions at Belarusian enterprises instead of the rally on that day. Several hundred people took part in the action.
A resolution was adopted. Among the main issues of the resolution is cancellation of the Decree #29, which introduced the contractual employment system in Belarus 10 years ago. As a result, hundreds of people lost job because of their political views and on other reasons, though they did not violate the labor discipline.
In the statement of the Belarusian Democratic Trade Unions Congress, disseminated on the day before the meeting, it was noted that most enterprises of Belarus work part-time working week. ‘Workers are forced to take leaves without payment. Salaries in Belarus are tree-four times lower than in the Baltic states, and 1.5 times lower than in Russia. Social protection of workers who were injured or developed work-related diseases, is not guaranteed. Unemployment payment is less than $20. Prices for food products, municipal facilities, medical services and education are constantly growing,’ the statement reads.
Besides, the Belarusian Democratic Trade Unions Congress attracts attention to the fact that Belarusian citizens ‘cannot freely create trade unions to defend and represent their legal rights and interests’. Despite the recommendations of the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the cancellation of the trade preferences to the country by the EU, violations of the rights of independent trade unions and workers continue, the document stressed.
The official trade unions headed by Leanid Kozik were not present at the meeting. Policemen observed the rally from a distance of several meters from under a roof. They warned the organizers that they should not have flags of the Belarusian Radio and Electronic Workers Union there.
The World Day for Decent Work is celebrated on 7 October on the initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation, an influential trade union association consisting of 170 mln workers from 312 trade union centers in 150 countries. The Belarusian Democratic Trade Unions Congress is a member of the International Trade Union Confederation since 2003.