Hunger strike at Mazyr refinery: new methods of pressure from Deputy Director General, former head of local KGB department?
Two leaders of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union’s office at the Mazyr-based refinery have been on hunger strike at their workplace since October 14. The hunger strike was started by Yury Shvets and later joined by his deputy, Vasil Alkhouski. The latter decided to support the protest, despite being on sick leave after he broke his leg.
The refinery workers declared a three-day hunger strike after the unfair dismissal of five activists of the independent trade union, whose fixed-term employment contracts were recently terminated. The pressure on the alternative trade union members from the enterprise’s administration has been reported since 2008.
“The pressure on the independent trade union has been underway for a long time already. I do not know what guides the administration of the plant, when trying to eliminate the trade union. I think this is due to the fact that the post of Deputy Director General was taken by Henadz Tsetsiaruk, who previously headed Mazyr town department of the State Security Committee (KGB). Apparently, he is using his skills here, at the enterprise. It’s a mopping up, workers are intimidated so that they leave the trade union. I think that is a dangerous game. The situation with the trade unions can trigger economic sanctions against the company,” says local human rights activist Uladzimir Tseliapun.