Employer in Polatsk unwilling to reinstate trade union activist
The Polatsk Town Court held yesterday a preliminary hearing on the suit lodged by Viktar Stukau, activist of the Free Trade Union, who was sacked by his employer at the Polatsk-Shklovalakno state-owned enterprise. The parties have had the opportunity to come to terms, if the company’s administration supported the demands brought by the activist. However, this did not happen, and the trial will continue.
Viktar Stukau demands reinstatement, compensation of earnings lost during unemployment, bonus payments, which he was deprived of as a result of a disciplinary action, as well as compensation for the moral damage that the activist estimated at 1 million rubles.
Moral damage, according to Viktar Stukau, is the result of the discriminative treatment of him as a member of the Free Trade Union:
“Discrimination is when the master runs through the whole shop to check if you are working in the glasses. Nobody cares that the other workers have moved them to the forehead... Discrimination is when the whole shift leaves work early to catch the bus, instead of walking 4 km to the town, and it is the FTU alone activist who accused of violating labor discipline. Among other things, we went to different organs to harmonize the work and bus schedules. But the administration did not agree to fix anything. And now, to suppress the workers’ initiative Polatsk-Shklovalakno started destroying the independent trade union.”
The sacked trade union leader believes that the administration violated his right to work and the right to freedom of association. Convention № 87 of the International Labor Organization was also violated, which prohibits to dismiss a trade union leader.
The International Trade Union Confederation issued a statement in defense of the dismissed trade union activist. In its letter to the manager of Polatsk-Shklovalakno M. Kachanouski and deputy manager for human resources Liudmila Prop protests at the discrimination of workers on the grounds of trade union membership. The statement was signed by the ITUC’s director of human and trade union rights Stephen Benedict.
The Free Trade Union also expressed protest against the dismissal of Viktar Stukau. The trade union’s leaders put the responsibility for the consequences of this step on the administration of Polatsk-Shklovalakno, as the story of violations against the head the FTU’s local office and the rights of other employees will have a direct impact on the image of the enterprise, including in the field of cooperation with foreign partners.