Workers of "Grodno Azot" object to changes in working conditions
Sergey Antusevich, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) has told the BelaPAN that more than 200 workers of the Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC) "Grodno Azot" refused to sign the official warning of the administration about changes in working conditions and turned to the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP) with a request to deal with the situation.
"The problem is that the last attestation of workplaces was held in 2008. The present one is based on the results thereof. However, in the meantime, a decision of the Ministry of Labour changed the conditions of attestation; and it turned out that quite a large number of workers (I find it hard to give exact figures, but it touches hundreds of them) have lost the right to early retirement, additional vacation and surcharge for hazardous or dangerous labour conditions," said Mr Antusevich.
He noted that the applications addressed by workers turned to the BNP pointed not only to "a strange attestation", but also to the fact that the company administration is putting pressure on people to recognize the results of this attestation. In case of refusal, Sergey Antusevich has explained, a worker can be sacked, according to the Labour Code, because of non-recognition of essential changes in his or her working conditions.
He has added that the primary organization of the BNP asked the Prosecutor's Office to study the situation. "The Office has paid attention only to the fact that there was pressure on the workers, but as to attestation, they advised to go to the Ministry of Labour. The Labour Inspectorate (of the Ministry) has written some sort of a runaround," said Antusevich.
According to his story, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) has stepped into play. "A huge 'landing force' of FPB and 'Belkhimprofsoyuz' officials arrived there. Also, July 11, there was an apparently pre-planned visit there of the first vice-premier Vladimir Semashko. All these questions were raised before him; and he suspended the new attestation for the time being. They will now decide on how to address the situation," said Antusevich.
He also said that at another enterprise in Grodno Ц the "Grodnozhilstroy" Ц the workers "because of low wages actually moved an ultimatum to company management and asked it to increase the wages."
Besides, on July 18, the workers of one of the factories of the "Pinskdrev" Holding gathered for a spontaneous rally.