Belarus: the first practical steps to address the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry?

On January 20-23, 2009 national tripartite seminar was held in Minsk (Belarus). It was organized by the ILO jointly with the Government of Belarus. The aim of the seminar was to evaluate how the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry of the ILO, adopted in 2004 are being implemented by Belarus Government today.

At least 150 people representing the three sides of social partnership (government, employers and trade unions) took part in the seminar. From trade union side there were 55 persons and 20 of them represented independent trade union movement of Belarus. Equaly important feature of the event was the participation of high ranking officials from the international organizations in it. Together with the ILO expert group headed by the ILO Executive Director Kari Tapiola the seminar was attended by Guy Ryder - General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) - and Emmanuel Julien – member of Governing Body of the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

In his intervention ITUC GS Guy Ryder noted that while the Belarus Government had made some, but not much, progress in implementing the ILO’s recommendations, the key issues – registration of independent unions and continued discrimination and harassment of their activists – had not been tackled seriously. During the seminar the most significant problem became apparent: it is the lack of a mechanism that could ensure proper observance over the implementation of the ILO recommendations - in the legislation and in practice.

The ILO, the ITUC and independent trade unions had stressed the need for the adoption of a plan of action setting out concrete steps and a timeframe for implementation of the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations

Such document has been discussed at the seminar – Action Plan of the Government of Republic of Belarus for implementation of the ILO recommendations - and will be submitted to the national tripartite council for further actions. “We evaluate the adopted Action Plan as an optimal one. The most important merit of this document is that it has established a certain body which will monitor the implementation of the ILO recommendations and perform the observance over the respect of trade union rights in the country. We wish that its activities were successful and efficient” – said Alexander Yaroshuk.

More information is available on the BKDP website