Protest at "Pinskdrev": workers quit trade union
At one of the factories of the "Pinskdrev" Holding, plenty of workers are quitting the official trade union. This is their protest against low wages. So far, the administration reacts cautiously.
One of the workers named Dmitry from the veneer and furniture shop told Radio Liberty that the process of workers' quitting the official trade union is lasting for two days. They decided to do so at the meeting held during a lunch break:
"The day before yesterday we received our wage receipts and saw so poor figures there that people were at a complete loss what to do. Finally they concluded that an embodiment of all that was the trade union, which was idling and unable to defend our rights. Immediately there was a wave of enthusiasm; and practically all those present began writing applications. This process continues and has covered other factories of the holding. Already a hundred or two of workers have written applications on quitting the official trade union."
Dmitry said that their bosses did not tell anything to the workers, they react composedly; however, some workers have been already invited for talks:
"There's no official reaction of the owners. The only thing that the factory bosses are trying to figure out is what's going on, and through foremen and their other representatives they attempt to somehow soften the situation. Some workers are invited to the director's office."
Dmitry said that the workers of the "Pinskdrev" were following the similar situation at the enterprise "Granit" and would take into account the experience of the workers from Mikashevichi. He explained that the situation at the "Pinskdrev" differs from the "Granit" one, because wages are much lower:
"We aren't afraid of dismissals – people are not happy to work for that money…"
"Workers are so tired of all that... They simply have nothing to eat. We'll take into account the experience of 'Granit'; however, the situation here is so difficult that we'll not be intimidated by dismissals. Nobody here is happy to work for that money."
Oleg Stakhaevich, the head of the primary organization of the independent trade union at the "Granit", advises "Pinskdrev" workers to self-organize and hold together:
"Workers just need working towards consolidating people. After all, very few people understand what solidarity is. Only through self-organization we can counteract these boorish attitude and miserable wages. In order to self-organize, it is necessary to inform everyone on what solidarity is."
The "Pinskdrev" Holding is one of the flagships of the furniture industry of Belarus. It employs about 5000 people. The veneer and furniture factory, where the protest was launched, has nearly 300 workers.