Gennady Fedynich: "Govt fails to address problems of independent trade unions, but recognizes their existence"
Last week, a regular sitting of the National Council for Improvement of Legislation in Social and Labour Sphere took place. Gennady Fedynich, Chairman of the REP Trade Union and a member of the Council, is sure that the current membership of the Council is able to solve problems faced by independent trade unions.
According to his story, today, four issues are most topical for independent trade unions. They were raised at the sitting of the Council, namely: the problem of registration of the primary BNP organization at the RUPE "Granit" and dismissal of its leaders; the pressure of the bosses of the "Belaruskali" on NPG members, as a result of which 138 members of the NPG quitted the union; the problem of admission to enterprises of Yuri Shvets, the chairman of the primary BNP organization at the Mozyr Oil Refinery, and Mikhail Kovalkov, the chairman of the primary SPB organization at the Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units; and signing of the collective bargaining agreement at the "Naftan" Oil Refinery.
"Discrimination of the independent trade unions and their members because of their membership there continues," said Gennady Fedynich. "A representative of the trade union at the 'Granit' spoke out at the sitting and told about an unprecedented pressure; two union activists were sacked; they cannot register their primary organization; the employer refuses to give a legal address. For one and a half years, the administration of the OJSC 'Naftan' refuses to start the collective bargaining with the independent trade union. For two and a half years, the access to the enterprise is restricted for the leaders of the independent trade union at the OJSC 'Mozyr Oil Refinery'. Yuri Shvets, the chairman of the primary BNP organization can be present at the enterprise only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., although his members are working there in three shifts. At the same time, the head of the pro-governmental 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' has other conditions of entrance to the enterprise. The administration of the Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units is trying to evict the Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB) out of the office, located in the territory of the enterprise. For six months already, the trade union leader Mikhail Kovalkov has been deprived of the unimpeded access to the enterprise."
The trade union leader is confident that the current Council is able to solve the problems faced by independent trade unions.
"The posts occupied by the members of the Council allow them to do it. We have the Minister of Labour there; the head of the division for controlling the observance of civil rights and liberties; the director of the state labour inspectorate; representatives of top-level employers and other senior officials. The solution of our problems is de jure within their competence. Another point is that de facto they are not independent," - said the union leader.
According to Gennady Fedynich, to date, the Government refuses to address the problems of independent trade unions; however, at the same time, recognizes the existence of them.
Still, as reported by the REP chairman, during the sitting, the officials expressed their intentions aimed at elimination of the above violations. Thus, according to Gennady Fedynich, Marianna Schyotkina, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, has promised that she will personally deal with the scandalous statements of the officials of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee, under whose direction people were forced to quit the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) at the "Belaruskali". According to the Minister of Labour, in the near future, the Council will get back to the issue of resumption of collective bargaining of the independent trade union with the administration of the OJSC "Naftan".
Victor Timofeev, Deputy Director General of the Belarusian Association of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, has promised to deal with the issue of access of trade union leaders of the BNP to the Mozyr Oil Refinery and of the SPB Ц to the Bobruisk Plant of Tractor Parts and Units.
The issue of the "Granit" was delivered for consideration to the Working Group of the Council. The Ministry of Labour asked to present Ц before June 15 Ц all the documents in confirmation of the legal grounds of the activities of the primary organization.