"Granite": harmful conditions of work decreased only on paper
Workers of the "Granite"
enterprise keep returning to the independent trade union after the
abridgment of facilities.
This was stated to BelaPAN by a leader of the independent trade union organization at the enterprise, Anatol Litsvinka: "Following the last year's attestation, the facilities for harmful conditions of work were artificially decreased. We used to have the coefficient of harm 3.3, whereas now the dust loading ha allegedly decreased, and the coefficient became just 2.2. It means that we will be given 7 extra days of vacation for the harm instead of 14, and the bonus wages will be reduced from 0.2% to 0.14%."
Mr. Litsvinka says that the workers are forced to agree to the new conditions for the fear of non-prolongation of the labor contracts, and that he doesn't know about any measures taken at the enterprise to decrease the harmfulness of work:
"Sometimes, workers cannot see one another at a five-meter distance because of the dust in the workshops! And here they declare that the dust loading has decreased... The plant has been working for 30 years and no measures have been taken to improve the situation," says the activist.
According to Mr. Litsvinka, the only way for the workers to protect their rights is to unite within the framework of independent trade union organizations:
"All this made our workers indignant, and now the authorities can receive a situation similar to that preceding the establishment of the independent trade union at "Granite". These days, five men have come to me, asking to accept them in the independent trade union. Our membership will increase thanks to the efforts of the administration, as common problems have always united people, and there is no alternative to the independent trade union at the plant."
As stated by the head of the Belarusian Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions Aliaksandr Yarashuk, such problem also exists at other enterprises with harmful industries:
"We are raising this issue very acutely before the government and the Ministry of Labor. The problem of harmfulness of the industry is solved by holding attestations, as a result of which new parameters are introduced, as a result of which the things which used to be considered as harmful suddenly stop being such... This is a real problem for workers, not only at "Granite", but at all enterprises with harmful conditions of work."
According to Mr. Yarashuk, sometimes the workers manage to defend the right to facilities for the harmful conditions of work. In particular, several months ago the open stock company "Hrodna Azot" was visited by the first vice-Prime-Minister Uladzimir Siamashka, whose workers expressed to him their protest in connection with this issue. As a result, the facilities at the enterprise were left unchanged.