Leonid Sudalenko, the legal inspector of the REP Trade Union for the Gomel Region, explains what to do if a boss sends his workers to farms to help in harvesting, referring to the respective order received from the local executive committee.
An employee of an organization in the city of Gorki told the Onliner.by about this long-standing tradition inherited from Soviet by the ruling regime.
The Gorki District Executive Committee has sent out an order "to help with labour force" to the OJSC "Goretskoe": on September 10-29, every day, 100 people must go to the farm to help in harvesting.
"An employee is obliged to perform only the work prescribed in his/her labour contract, irrespective of employer's ownership form (state-owned, private, JSC, or joint venture)," Leonid Sudalenko explained in his express comment to the "Salidarnasts":
"Moreover, the Labour Code contains a rule that prohibits an employer to demand from his employee to perform any work beyond the labour contract, including going to a farm to harvest. The employee can agree, but has the right to refuse stating that such agrarian work is not prescribed in the labour contract."
Leonid Sudalenko recalls the resonant tragedy in the Molodechno District in 2015, when a schoolgirl died at harvesting potatoes:
"After that story, not only schoolchildren, but also other pupils and students, are no longer sent for harvesting."
The lawyer explains other employee's rights: if you are sent away to the distance of more than 30 km from your workplace, you may demand from your employer to document is as a business trip. Besides, he must provide you with necessary work clothes; and pay double for the work on weekends. If you receive a trauma during such business trip, it will be fixed as an industrial accident.
The expert reminds that in the above schoolgirl's case, lawyers had to prove the existence of labour relations in court:
"The Ministry of Education stuck to the position that the schoolgirl did not work, as it was a part of the training process.
Leonid Sudalenko offers free legal help to employees:
"If you were deprived of bonuses or fired for your refusal to go to the farm, please contact. I'm ready to run the case and show the absurdity of the situation."
He recalls another tragedy: last December, before Lukashenko's visit to the Buda-Koshelevo District, a rescuer fell down from the roof of the barn and died:
"He was cleaning the roof of the barn; farm bosses were afraid that Lukashenko could see the dirty roof from his helicopter and be angry. Then, the employer stated that everything happened for the fault of the rescuer. The fact that the employer demanded to perform the work beyond his labour contract was ignored by everybody, including the Investigating Committee, which refused to open a criminal case."
"Remember: your life and health are the major things. If something happens in the farm field, everyone will try to wash hands off."