Free Trade Union of Metal Industry Workers demands to stop discrimination and harassment of its activists
“The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus is currently considering draft amendments to the Labor Code. It is easy to see that they are of non-essential and decorative character. In particular, changes will affect Article 14, Part 1, in its definition of discrimination. The proposed amendments do not mention the responsibility of employers for discrimination based on union affiliation, the trend that has acquired a disastrous scale at the Belarusian enterprises. Over the past ten years, despite numerous efforts of the International Labor Organization, and other international trade union organizations to stop violations of workers’ rights, the Belarusian authorities virtually deprived the workers of their constitutional right to freedom of association. Leaving the pro-government trade union, joining a free trade union haves but one consequence – dismissal from the company. The management of enterprises has abused the system of short-term contracts as an “effective” tool of getting rid of disloyal and active employees who do not wish to be in the position of slaves.
Members of the Trade Union have been subjected to discrimination in the enterprises of Mahiliou, Minsk, Zhlobin and other cities, encountered constant psychological and administrative pressure. The administrative harassment also affects their family members and other relatives who work in the same enterprise.
Our regional trade union leaders are being pressurized b yintelligence agencies, the KGB; the threats of repression affect their relatives. Recently, such cases have occurred in Mahiliou.
The Council of the Free Trade Union of Metal Industry Workers urges the authorities to put an end to discriminating against employees on the grounds of trade union membership, to reestablish the constitutional right to freedom of association in trade unions and to provide administrative or criminal liability of employers and other authorities for discrimination against workers.”