The chairman of the independent REP Trade Union has criticized the amendments to the Labour Code, proposed by the House of Representatives of the People's Assembly (Parliament) of Belarus, and said that the procedure for recalling some of the MPs could be launched.
On October 2, 2018, the fifth session of the House of Representatives of the sixth convocation began working. Among other agenda points, the MPs intend to adopt amendments to the Labour Code. Gennady Fedynich has analyzed the proposed amendments:
"A number of amendments are positive"
"To be completely frank, a number of amendments to the Labour Code are indeed positive, namely, vacations for men after the birth of a child for up to 14 days; a measure concerning pensioners, who work under contracts: if the contract is violated by the employer, they can now receive their three average monthly salaries – now, they are on equal terms with those employees who are not retired yet."
"Undoubtedly, it is also positive that finally an entire article will appear in the Labour Code on the remuneration of those who work remotely. Now, a lot of employees can legally work remotely, not only IT professionals, but also people of many other trades."
"However, there are amendments that cross out everything positive, aren't they?"
"Of course, all the above amendments are good. Meanwhile, after having studied in detail all the amendments, to my great regret, I've found no confirmation that when adopted, these amendments will abolish President's interim Ordinances No. 29, on fixed short-term labour contracts, and No. 5, which allows employers to deprive their workers of bonuses till the end of the year, and to fire them with a 7-day warning (instead of a month earlier)."
"That is, the Labour Code and President's Ordinances will remain in force in parallel. As we know, by the hierarchy of legal acts, presidential ordinances and decrees are higher than laws and codes. What will the courts be guided by, if both the Labour Code and the Ordinances are acting simultaneously? In whose favour will the court decide? I think there are no comments here."
"I would highly recommend the House of Representatives: prove your courage and make the following amendment: 'Because of making essential amendments to the Labour Code, Ordinances Nos. 29 and 5 cease to exist.' It would really be in favour of your voters."
"By your Labour Code, you force employees to work and work all the time!"
"Besides, the Labour Code still has the provision, which appeared there in 2016, about the number of permissible overhead hours for an employee. Whom is it done for: an employee or the employer? I believe that only for the employer. Now the number of such hours is 180 per year. Your Labour Code creates all the conditions for a person to work constantly! But this is a human, who was born into this world in order to live, not work constantly. If the House of Representatives were brave enough, in could make an amendment to the Labour Code that the Category 1 tariff should be equal to the minimum consumer budget. Today, the figures are BYN 35.5 and around BYN 400 (depending on different population groups). The minimum consumer budget should cover the primary physiological needs of a human. If one comes to work under Category 1, he/she must receive at least this amount enough to pay utility bills and eat normal food. And this tariff must be observed by all enterprises, regardless of the ownership form. If you fail to observe it – don't hire people! Analyze your overheads, revise the managerial staff – so that a worker comes and receives a sufficient amount at one's main workplace. Then, he/she will have free time, time for family and for rest. But you, the people's elects, only care about people's employment, not about their decent salaries and wages. These essential provisions of the Labour Court cross out all the positive amendments therein."
"Where are employee's rights? Why can't an employee warn the employer that he/she wants to terminate the labour contract?"
"Unfortunately, today, this Labour Code doesn't allow an employee to feel on an equal footing with the employer. Why? The amendments stipulate that the employer must notify the employee 30 days in advance if the contract is not renewed. And where is the employee's right? Why can't he/she warn the employer 30 days in advance that he/she has found a better job and wants to terminate the contract? Today, the REP Trade Union has hundreds of appeals from people who work under a contract and cannot change job! Thus if you, the MPs, treat yourselves as people's elected representatives – for whom are such changes? You must work for the benefit of your voters, for the benefit of the working man! Or, as a last resort, workers need to be put on an equal footing with the employer. Why is this not done?"
"If necessary, we will start the revocation procedure"
"The REP Trade Union is not so strong to influence the Parliament; however, should the House adopt the above amendments to the Labour Code, we will analyze them again, and, I think, we'll choose two or three constituencies, where most of our activists live, and start collecting signatures and listen to the respective MPs in places. And, if necessary, we'll start the procedure of recalling an MP."