The situation in Belarus is high on the agenda of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Jaap Wienen, deputy secretary general of the organization, said at a convention of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) in Minsk on December 14.
He described the BCDTU as the country's sole umbrella organization for independent labor unions and said that the ITUC was well aware of the union's work and the situation in Belarus. The ITUC fully supports the organization, Mr. Wienen said.
He recalled that thanks to pressure from many countries' trade unions the European Union had suspended Belarus' trade benefits under its Generalized System of Preferences as punishment for Minsk’s failure to respect independent trade unions' rights and carry out the International Labor Organization’s recommendations. If international standards in the sphere of labor are not respected in a country, the rest of the world will view that as a breach of workers' basic rights and not tolerate that, Mr. Wienen warned.
He promised that the ITUC would continue offering support to independent trade unions in Belarus.
The activist condemned the universal introduction of fixed-term labor contracts in Belarus as inconsistent with the definition of decent working conditions for employees.
Concluding his speech, Mr. Wienen called for unity among the BCDTU's member organizations.