ITUC General Secretary visit to Belarus

On 14-16 September 2014 ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow visited Belarus. She discussed the situation with trade union and workers rights in the country with leaders and activists of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions in framework of "Workers’ testimonies" conference on 15 September.

Independent unionists from different cities of Belarus informed Sharan Burrow about their work and challenges the Belarusian regime, local authorities and enterprise managers were creating to members of independent unions: harassment and intimidation, discrimination at workplace, bonded labour caused by short-term contract system, exclusion from collective bargaining processes, threats and coercion. The conference was moderated by Aleksandr Yarashuk, BKDP President.

Boris Kravchenko, President of the Confederation of Labour of Russia, coordinator of the Association of Trade unions of Russia and Belarus, took part in the conference and expressed support to BKDP unionists of behalf of Russian trade unions.

The participants proposed to organise a sub-regional forum on freedom of association and democracy in Belarus next year to address challenges workers of Belarus and neighboring countries are facing in relation to implementation of their right to organise and bargain collectively.

On 16 September Sharan Burrow met with Minister of Labour of Belarus M. Shchyotkina and demanded respect of workers rights in Belarus, urged to fully implement Commission of Inquiry recommendations, expressed concerns about numerous cases of anti-union campaigns and actions, and proposed to discuss ways to address existing and prevent further trade union rights violations at Forum on Democracy and Freedom of Association.