Yuri Kulazhenko, the Rector of the Gomel-based Belarusian State University of Transports (BelSUT), has confirmed to Leonid Sudalenko, legal inspector of the REP Trade Union, that university students went to gather carrots at the request of the Belarusian Republic's Youth Union (known as the BRSM).
"The university's plan for ideological and educational work provides for helping farms in harvesting. All our students are adults; they work in the field voluntarily and they agreed to receive their remuneration in kind - 5 kilos of carrots per person per day," the Rector wrote to lawyer Sudalenko.
Leonid Sudalenko, who monitors the use of labour of schoolchildren and students for harvesting, had raised this issue before the Gomel Prosecutor's Office, from where the request was redirected to the regional department for education, and from there – to the BelSUT.
"This students' work in the field, even if they are adults and work voluntarily, as they write to us here, still fails to generate labour relations. I want to tell everyone – if there's an industrial accident, everyone will immediately 'wash off his hands.' When you agree to do such work, you should demand the conclusion of employment contract and insurance of your life and health. Otherwise, everyone runs the risk of being left alone with his/her own problems," Mr Sudalenko has concluded.