ETUC and PERC General Secretary Bernadette Segol in support of independent unions of Belarus

ETUC: In Belarus, ruled by the totalitarian regime of A. Lukashenko, the workers are saying enough is enough and joining independent unions. In the RUPP "Granite" company in Mikashevichi, 600 employees have officially denounced their membership in the official trade union structure and set up a new and independent organisation as part of the Confederation of Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus (BKDP), a member of the Pan-European Regional Council (PERC).

As can be expected in this dictatorship, the authorities retaliated and a new management was brought in, the first act of which was to dismiss leaders of the new union, including Oleg Stakhaevich and Liudmila Litvinko, and harass its members through manipulating job assessment tests. The union has been refused registration by the authorities, in breach of a recommendation –among twelve handed down by an ILO (International Labour Organisation) Commission of enquiry that have been largely ignored. For years Belarus has been found guilty by specialised ILO bodies of violations of a range of fundamental rights and international standards, despite the EU imposing limitations on the access of the country to the preferential conditions of the EU GSP+ scheme.

European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and PERC are calling on their affiliates, union activists and human rights defenders to join the solidarity campaign with the RUPP "Granite" company workers. “Workers in Eastern Europe led by their unions started and supported a process of change that opened a new page in European history”, said Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of ETUC and PERC. “The urge towards dignity and justice at work, for a democratic society can be suppressed but never defeated.”

PERC letter