Updated at 21:04,23-03-2021

Yaroshuk: As if driving a time machine we came back in Soviet times


The leader of Conderation of Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus Alexander Yaroshuk commented UDF.BY on the results of hearing on the suit of Mozyr Oil Refinery worker Marina Tsyblienko against the prominent opposition leader Viktor Ivashkevich.

We remind, according to the court's decision, Ivashkevich must pay the employee of Mozyr Oil Refinery Marina Tsyblienko Br500 thousand in compensation for moral damage, as well as to refute the statements in the media, in which he urged European countries to boycott the Belarusian goods.

"Bad performance in a very bad production of a completely incompetent director. As if driving a time machine, we came back in Soviet times: to condemn and to take over control", says Alexander Yaroshuk. "We say a special thank for advertising, to those who came to the court with a poster advertising the BKDP. Unfortunately, this poster was the only one. We will be shown on Belarusian TV, which was clearly present at this "historic" process. The more people know that in addition to a fully degraded Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus there are another, independent trade unions, the better".

- Alexander, in the early spring you were summoned to the Prosecutor General's Office by taking your warnings about the possibility of boycotting Belarusian goods in the European markets for the calls for sanctions. You were threatened with a criminal case. Are there any consequences of that conversation?

-There were no consequences. I was summoned to make an official warning. During a three-hour conversation in the prosecutor's office, I just said that the government by stifling free trade unions, having in mind the situation in the "Granite", may trigger a serious reaction from the international trade union movement, up to the boycott of Belarusian goods in the European markets.

The issue was limited to a conversation - without making the official warning, without any papers. Officials didn't really commented on my visit to the prosecutor's office. And at the same time, much is shown by the fact they didn't make an official warning.

They was no continuation, because I did not break any laws. I warned the authorities that strangling the independent trade union movement in Belarus can cause very negative, even a radical reaction from the European and international trade union movement. And no government can cope with the most radical actions of the international trade union movement.

- Alexander, violation of trade union rights in Belarus in recent months has become widespread. Will this issue be discussed at the June Conference of Labour?

- "Belarusian issue" will be considered on June 4-8 at the annual International Labour Conference. And it will be a very difficult conversation for the Belarusian government.

In recent months, as from the cornucopia violations of independent trade unions' rights showered. On May 17 BKDP delegation of 13 people spoke about it at the National Council for Labour and Social Affairs. Representatives of BKDP (the delegation included the representatives of "Belaruskali", "Granite", Mozyr Oil Refinery) were able to impose on members of the government the debate about the violation of trade union rights. The government by the mouth of the Minister of Labour Marianna Shetkina was forced to declare, that it would consider all the facts of violations of the rights of independent trade unions. Moreover, the Minister said that before June 15, she will examine all the facts of trade union rights' violations in the "Granite" in Mikashevichi.

The pressure on members of the independent trade unions in "Belshina" in Bobruisk, JSC "Mozyr Oil Refinery" and "Naftan" in Novopolotsk also continues. On these and other enterprises under the threat of not extending the fixed-term employment contracts, under the refusal in the improving skills and career opportunities, employees are forced to leave the union. Similarly, people are being forced to leave the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) of "Belaruskali". Moreover, the pressure on members of the NPG was detected for the first time in 20 years this organization exists.

The government conducted the Council in anticipation of the annual Conference of Labor, perfectly aware that it has appeared in a difficult situation. Recent violations of the rights of independent trade unions suggest the situation of trade union rights in Belarus has deteriorated and become widespread.

I will not make predictions about the outcome of the Conference of Labor. Unlike in previous years in June very tough decisions may be taken. I myself will take part in the meeting of the norms and standards of the ILO. It has become a sad tradition, I'm going to the Conference of Labor not in the official delegation, but as a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

- "Very tough decisions" - are the economic sanctions?

- Conference of Labor does not put the question of whether or not to introduce the economic sanctions. Conference of Labor can only say: whether the progress in respecting the rights of trade unions is achieved or the regression is continuing. These estimates may become the grounds for decisions by other institutions, such as the European Union. It is based on the estimates of the ILO in 2007 the European Union has deprived Belarus of the generalized system of preferences in trade with EU countries.