BNP offers to check whether BNP and "Belkhimprofsoyuz" meet the democratic principles of the international trade union movement
Nikolai Zimin, Chairman of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP), has offered, when speaking at a conference of the ICEM regional organization for Eastern Europe, Central Asia and South Caucasus, to set up a commission and check the activities of two member-organizations of the ICEM – the BNP and the "Belkhimprofsoyuz" – for compliance with the ICEM democratic principles.
Nikolai Zimin told the participants of the conference – representatives of member-organizations of the ICEM (International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions) – that the situation with the rights of independent trade unions in Belarus is still complicated. Activists face insurmountable obstacles in creating new trade union primary organizations, while the operating ones and their members suffer from discrimination.
Moreover, as noted by the BNP leader, independent trade unions are oppressed not only by the authorities and employers, but also by their colleagues from the pro-government Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB).
Nikolai Zimin may judge about it not by hearsay. After he was elected to chair the BNP, he visited, together with his colleagues, all his primary trade union organizations. His aim was meet union activists, discuss how to revitalize the work and establish relationships with employers and local state bodies.
"Practically in all our primary organizations, factory ideologists are working hardly, jointly with FPB officials, towards liquidation of BNP primary organizations," said Nikolai Zimin, speaking at the conference. "Our members are harassed and forced out of the BNP. Factory ideologists, directly assisted by the 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' (a member-organization of the FPB, – Editor), do everything possible to prevent or restrict our participation in collective bargaining. Thus, at the Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) 'Naftan' in Novopolotsk, the chair of the local 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' refused – at the final stage of bargaining – from the joint Collective Agreement with the BNP primary organization, which was made in violation of the principles of social partnership."
The BNP leader told the conference of the global federation that in the past year, the earlier voiced facts of pressure on union members at the OJSC "Grodno Azot", OJSC "Naftan" (formerly "Polymir") and the OJSC "Belshina" have been complemented by violations of union rights at the OJSC "Mozyr Oil Refinery", where the employer forced, by using the same methods of intimidation and blackmail to leave the independent trade union.
Nikolai Zimin also presented a fact of discrimination of the trade union at the national level, which occurred during conclusion of the Tariff Agreement.
"While concluding the Agreement, the 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' ignored the BNP and signed it behind the scenes," said the Chairman of the BNP and added that the directors of enterprises, where we see pressure on BNP members, are members of the "Belkhimprofsoyuz", and, hence, members of the ICEM. "This is the 'brotherhood' that we have," he concluded.
Nikolai Zimin offered to set up a commission to check the activities of the BNP and "Belkhimprofsoyuz" for compliance with the democratic principles of the ICEM, a global union federation.
The regional ICEM Conference for Eastern Europe was held on September 26, 2011, in Baku (Azerbaijan) with participation of Manfred Warda, Secretary General of the ICEM, Ivan Mokhnachuk, Chairman of the ICEM Regional Council for Eastern Europe, and representatives of trade unions – member-organizations of the ICEM from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) unites over 20 million workers around the world. The ICEM includes 467 branch trade unions from 132 countries.