Belarus violates workers’ rights.

The International Labour Organization has strongly criticized the Government of Belarus for what it called “a serious deterioration in the respect of trade union rights” in the country. In a report adopted today by its Governing Body, the ILO urges the “Government to take all necessary measures to bring national law and practice into conformity with freedom of association principles as a matter of urgency.”

News | 25 November 2002
In 2000 the trade unions of Belarus (Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, a number of branch unions and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and International Union Food Workers’ Associations) filed a complaint to the ILO against the Government of Belarus for interference with trade union activities and elections. Since then the Committee on Freedom of Association has held several sessions and investigations of the situations and has noted with deep alarm that since the submission of the complaint in 2000 there has not been any progress towards the implementation of its recommendations.

The Committee strongly urges the Government of Belarus to immediately investigate the numerous cases of threats of dismissal of certain trade union members, refusal to register new trade unions, pressure on the workers to leave the movement and other cases of government interference and also to amend Presidential Decrees #8 and #11 restricting trade union activities. The Committee also regrets certain declarations in the speech of Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus to the FPB Congress in September 2002, suggesting that the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus should take over the role of the former party organization responsible for discipline, which represents a clear attempt to transform the trade union movement into an instrument for the pursuance of political aims.

The ILO has called on the government of Belarus to refrain from any interference so that the “Belarusian trade union movement may act in full freedom and independence.”