Updated at 17:30,27-10-2020

Will the wave of strikes cover Belarus?


On February 20 about 50 people walked out from the official trade union of Orsha branch of electricity networks, and workers of Bobruisk "Belshina", who have already joined an independent trade union, told about the pressure exerted on them. Meanwhile, members of the independent trade union of "Granite" enterprise threaten to strike in case of failure to fulfill their requirements, including the provision of a legal address to register their section and reinstate in his job the leader of Granite independent trade union Oleg Stahaevich, who was dismissed from the enterprise.

Regularity emerges: this is not the first companies where workers walk out from a state trade union, unhappy with its work. And certainly not the first, where the protest expressed. Orsha, Bobruisk, Mikashevichi, Baranovichi, Borisov - the geography widens.

The cause of the conflict in Orsha branch of electricity networks was unjustified cancellation of additional payments for job hazard. After a not very constructive dialogue with the leadership, employees decided to act - to begin with walking out from the trade union. The administration has made concessions and asked to reconsider the decision to leave. We are waiting for developments. Meanwhile, Gennady Fyadynich, the leader of Belarusian Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronic Industry commented to UDF.BY on the latest tendency as follows:

"The situation will get worse. People are looking for protection, but in the existing trade unions they don't find it. So, they will form their own unions, will unite together when they want to protect their rights".

Recently, employees of Bobruisk "Belshina" have also faced with misunderstanding about the membership in the registered section of Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU). In the company of many thousands only 30 are members of the BITU, but even such quantity of dissenters is an eyesore to someone from above, "I think the order came from above: "Not to give to develop an independent trade union movement in "Belshina". And ideologues do it", the chairman of the section Mikhail Ustinovich explains.

Administration of Baranovichi Machine Tool Works "Atlant" also doesn't have communication skills, where on February 16 three of its employees appealed to Belarusian Free Trade Union for advice on how to fight for higher wages. According to them, the negotiations with management failed. The administration of the plant doesn't comment on the situation (though, it was expected).

On February 13 workers of the two production sites of the Borisov Plant of Automotive and Tractor Electrical Equipment (BATE) had a temporary strike, threatening with more serious actions. In response, the actions in a style of "carrot and stick" followed: first, the management made ​​concessions, promising to increase wages by 20%, and then activists started to have problems.

And in "Granite" enterprise in Mikashevichi a whole saga was unfolded. The mentioned threat of striking has a history. It all started in December, when hundreds of workers left a trade union because of dissatisfaction with wages and a local trade union committee work, and decided to establish an independent section. Authorities didn't like the idea, and first in the old trade union leadership they had a little cleanup and then they were busy with the activists. But the workers didn't give up, showing their "granite-like" nature, and the opposition reached such a pitch, that the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions threatened with a boycott of Belarusian goods in Europe. For this the leader of independent trade unions of Belarus Alexander Yaroshuk was subsequently summoned to a prosecutor's office. However, it should be noted that the prosecutor's office at the same time stood up for the independent trade union, saying that the leadership of "Granite" enterprise in Mikashevichi has no right to refuse to register it.

"The decision of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union was sent to the administration, that the BITU organization was established in their enterprise, and that's enough. In this case the administration is obliged to provide a legal address in a form of premises", Alexander Yaroshuk told in an interview to UDF.BY.

"Except the workers themselves, no one will defend their rights. But if they want to - we will help them. The main thing is a desire", the leader of Belarusian Independent Trade Union of Radio Electronic Industry Gennady Fyadynich sums up.