News / 12.03.19

Zinaida Mikhnyuk: "I want to believe that social dialogue will not end in this hall"

Minsk has hosted a tripartite conference "Tripartism and Social Dialogue in Labour World", timed to the 100th anniversary of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The event was attended by officials of the ILO, Belarusian Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, and representatives of employers' associations and trade unions, including the independent ones.

The REP Trade Union was represented by Zinaida Mikhnyuk, the acting chair:

"I had a chance to speak out and convey to the audience that the so-called 'trade union case' is irreversible and politically motivated! The appeals of the IndustriALL Global Union of Trade Unions and the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC) to the leadership of our country, unfortunately, have not yet yielded concrete results.

The conference was co-chaired by Kari Tapiola, the Special Adviser to the ILO's Director General, and Irina Kostevich, the Minister of Labour and Social Protection of Belarus.

"We participate in this conference, but trade unions' rights were and are violated. Back in 2001, I, then the chair of the trade union committee of the "Tsvetotron" Plant in Brest, was a witness in Case 2090 "Violation of Trade Unions' Rights in Belarus". According to the Charter of the REP Trade Union, we have the right to create our primary union organizations both at enterprises and on the territorial basis. But local authorities would not register our organizations in Gomel, Mogilev, Bobruisk and Orsha," said Zinaida Mikhnyuk.

The main objectives of the conference were to discuss the future of social dialogue and the improvement of the social partnership system, as well as the exchange of experiences on starting and holding social dialogue.

"In the Brest Region, we have created and maintain the Coordinating Council of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (known as the BKDP). We, as a trade union party of social partnership, appealed to colleagues from the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (known as the FPB) asking to include our representative into the negotiation process for the conclusion of the next local tripartite agreement for 2019-2021, but our suggestion was rejected."

Belarus was repeatedly included into the ILO's short list of the countries, where gross violations of the rights and freedoms of workers and trade unions exist. During their speeches, delegates from independent trade unions drew attention to the upcoming changes to the Labour Code, which would worsen the situation of workers, the so-called "parasite" ordinance, which as one of the forms of forced labour, which is banned by the ILO Conventions ratified by Belarus, which also prohibit any pressure of company bosses and state officials on activists of independent trade unions.

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