According to the latest information, under administration's pressure, over 1000 members were forced to quit the Independent Trade Union of Miners (known as the NPG and being the main part of the BNP – the Belarusian Independent Trade Union) of the OJSC "Belaruskali". Activists of the REP Trade Union express their solidarity with the NPG and held flash mobs against the liquidation of the union.
Zinaida Mikhnyuk, Acting REP Chair:
"On behalf of REP activists of the Brest Region, I express our solidarity with the NPG. All those who took part in the flash mob in Brest are those who passed through interrogations under the 'trade union case'. We know first-hand what repressions mean; therefore we understand the importance of mutual support in such difficult times. I'm sure that the administration of 'Belaruskali' found illegal levers of pressure on NPG members through intimidation and threats not to extend labour contracts. I can only say one thing – Ganba (Shame)! I call for conscious membership in independent trade unions! Only together we can defend our rights and achieve justice! And also I express my solidarity support to the leaders of the NPG! I wish them strength and courage in this difficult struggle."
Gennady Fedynich, an adviser-consultant to the REP Trade Union:
"Only independent trade unions are really defending their members. We express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the NPG. Today, it has become clear that the pro-governmental 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' trade union (a member of the FPB), which is also, along with the BNP, a member of international trade union organizations, is on the side of the administration of 'Belaruskali'. It is unacceptable! In this difficult situation we are together! Hands off the independent trade unions!"
Galina Smirnova, the leader of the REP Trade Union in Bobruisk:
"I believe that our joint solidarity actions only can resist the pressure. Unfortunately, the intimidation by the administration of 'Belaruskali' of NPG members gives its fruit. It's another demonstration by the enterprise bosses and local authorities that they are afraid of the independent trade union movement. Now, the most important thing is not to give up and go together to the end. We, members of the Bobruisk regional REP organization, are ready to take part in any actions in support of the NPG."
Denis Khudovets, a coordinator of the youth network of the REP Trade Union:
"We see systematic pressure on all independent structures in Belarus. I believe that this is another wave of repressions before the upcoming elections. And of course, the powerful NPG organization at the 'Belaruskali' is one of the real independent forces in the region. Thus, the authorities decided to suppress active people and their essential organization; in fact – to deprive them of any ability to defend their rights. We support our brothers and sisters in the NPG! Solidarity is stronger than pressure!"
The Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) at the OJSC "Belaruskali" is a member of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP). According to Nikolai Zimin, the BNP Chairman, the company bosses are waging an open war against NPG members. From the start of 2019, by intimidation and threats they forced 1000 out of 4000 NPG members to quit the independent trade union organization.
First of all, the pressure was aimed at those NPG members, who were also of the pro-governmental "Belkhimprofsoyuz". According to trade union leaders, finally, 600 people left both the NPG and the "Belkhimprofsoyuz".