Persecutions against Union Members at “Mozyr Oil Refinery”, Republic of Belarus

The ITUC calls to support the campaign of its affiliate Belarusian Congress of Demoncratic Trade Unions to stop harassment and intimidation of independent trade union at Mozyr Oil Refinery. Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, addresses the management of the company. The copy of the letter below was also sent to President Lukashenko.

ITUC protest letter the Director General of the Open Joint-Stock Company “Mozyr Oil Refinery”

Mr. Kupriyanov,

I am writing to you on behalf of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents more than 175 million workers in 156 countries throughout the world including in Belarus.

According to the information we received from our affiliate, the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), and from the Global Union Federation IndustriALL, the Mozyr Oil Refinery’s local union, the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU), affiliated to the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP – an IndustriALL affiliate), has been facing a harsh union-busting campaign. This campaign was initiated by the Refinery management since 2008. Members of the union have regularly been victims of repression and biased disciplinary punishment based exclusively on their union affiliation. A third of the members (some 467 workers) were forced to withdraw their membership from the local union.

I have been informed that recently 2 members of the local unions have been dismissed and 3 others have received notification letters that their contracts would not be renewed. They had earlier received numerous penalties based on false accusations. Later these penalties became grounds for dismissals or for not extending their short-term contracts.

Along with IndustriALL, the ITUC strongly condemns these anti-union practices and joins the demands of the BNP union for

 the establishment of a thorough and objective investigation of the circumstances of the disciplinary measures against union members including the dismissals;

 the abolishment of all disciplinary penalties and other punishments as they are not proportionate to the alleged offenses;

 the reinstatement of the dismissed workers at their workplace.

Furthermore, I urge you to stop all interference in trade union affairs at Mozyr Oil Refinery, to halt persecutions and biased attitudes towards BNP members. I also call on you to make all the required efforts in order to re-establish genuine freedom for workers to freely join unions of their choice as is written in the ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association ratified by Belarus more than fifty years ago.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary