A Belarusian-Swedish workshop addressing cooperation between Belarus’ independent trade unions and political parties opened in Minsk on November 11.
The two-day event brought together representatives of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, the Belarusian Union of Electronic Industry Workers, the Belarusian Party of Communists, the Belarusian Social and Democratic Party "Hramada," the founding committees for the Belarusian Party of Working People and the Women’s Party "Nadzeya," as well as Sweden’s IF Metall trade union, Olof Palme Fund and Social Democratic Party.
Speaking at the event, prominent trade unionist Alyaksandr Bukhvostaw noted that "the conference, which addresses the possibility of implementing the Swedish model of society development in Belarus, is very important to us."
"This model helped achieve one of the world’s highest levels of the population’s social protection. This happened thanks to the activity of a strong labor movement, which created its political organizations that later came to power. Today Social Democrats are in power in Norway, Iceland. Sweden’s Social Democrats were in power for 40 years, in fact they created the present-day model of Swedish society," said Mr. Bukhvostaw, who chairs the founding committee for the Belarusian Party of Working People.
He emphasized the importance of studying Sweden’s experience of cooperation between leftist parties and independent trade unions.
IF Metall International Secretary Mats Svensson expressed hope that the workshop would help Belarusian trade unions and political parties forge closer ties with a view to securing democratic reforms in the country.