Engineer Fired in Mahiliou

2006 2006-10-27T10:00:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On October 26, 2006 Ihar Barysau, member of Mahliou regional committee of Belarusian Social Democratic Party “Hramada”, one of the leaders of pro-democratic youth, was fired from work.

After graduation from university Ihar Barysau was a product assurance engineer at “Mahiliouliftmach” company. He has worked for over 2 years at this position.

The legal ground for his discharge was termination of the working contract on the mutual agreement of the parties. In reality, one of the parties – Ihar Barysau – felt constant pressure from the company management and had to listen to numerous threats that he would be fired for violation of the contract conditions if he did not agree to terminate the contract.

Director for ideology L. Lebiadzeuski was especially eager to “teach” and “educate” the engineer. Lebiadzeuski knew that he did not have the right to prohibit the employee to be member of a legally-registered political party. He claimed he did not prohibit engineer Barysau to continue the activities he carried out in his free time with only one condition – he should stop working in “Mahilioliftmash”.

He claimed the activities of the young social democrat have a negative effect on the image and marketing of the company. Besides that, according to Lebiadzeuski, Barysau undermines reputation and causes financial harm to the company. Barysau is a master student of European Humanities University, located in Vilnius. He majors in Democracy and Civic Society. EHU was forced by the government to move from Minsk to Vilnius.

The company management refused to dismiss Barysau from work for the exams period. Chief metrologist S. Lahun, Barysau’s boss, stated that Vilnius is a fascist city, and EHU – an anarchical college. He told Ihar: “You are way-out. You should stop your studies. I will not let you go and will not sign any permissions. If you want to go -- you’ll have to find another job”.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, October 14, Mahiliou opposition held a rally in support of the former candidate for presidency Alexander Kazulin. Ihar Barysau was one of the active participants of the rally. He carried out an action “Write a letter of support to Kazulin”, handing out envelopes with the address of the jail where Kazulin served his term. That was reported to the top management of his company. Besides that, the company CEO was informed that Ihar Barysau had organized two flash-mobs near the building of Mahiliou KGB; and that he allegedly headed a groups of youths at the rally.

Ihar has a long story of relations with KGB. The agents visited him many times and offered “friendship”. When Ihar refused, they made up the story of the crowd led by Barysau.

The company management gave a ultimatum to its employee:

  1. to stop studies at EHU

  2. to write an application for dismissal with an open date (that means, Ihar would be fired the moment he attends an “opposition” meeting)

  3. to apologize for his thoughtless actions.

Or, he could peacefully leave himself with good recommendations.

“I am tired of fear, -- Ihar says. – I am tired of silence. I never hid my political convictions and did what I thought I needed to do. I can say one thing – our bosses lack humanness. No one supported me. Everybody is afraid of their bosses and colleagues. They hold on to their jobs like grim death. Time will put everything right. I think my bosses will feel bad about that”.