29 November, 2019German shaft-sinking company, Deilmann-Haniel has notified workers about non-renewal of their contracts after their complaint to the Belarusian labour inspectorate about violations of the national safety norms and the absence of safety certification of their workplaces.
In August 2019, workers wrote to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection with a collective complaint asking for safety certification of their workplace. Although the certification took place, the employer failed to comply with its results. Four months after the workers’ complaint, the employer changed the company name to Redpath Deilmann and started concluding new contracts with workers. However, about 20 people who signed the complaint received notifications about non-renewal of their contracts.
According to IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU), mine shafts at the Nezhinsky Mining and Processing Plant have been drilled for the LLC “Slavkali” by the German company Deilmann-Haniel GmbH since 2017.
The union has also received complaints of workers about wage discrimination at the company who say that workers of the same qualification get different pay for the same work, depending on their nationality. German nationals are paid the most, followed by Russians, while the local Belarusians are the lowest paid.
At the meeting with BITU leaders, the German employer noted that the company was only worried about putting the facility into operation on time. Other issues were of no interest. And now, when one third of the work has been completed, the company is dismissing highly skilled workers and replacing them with new ones, as it appears from the job advertisements for Redpath Deilmann.
Maksim Pazniakou, BITU chairman, said: “On behalf of our members at Redpath Deilmann, BITU demands that the company complies with Belarusian legislation. Our most fundamental and urgent demand is to keep jobs for Belarusian workers, who exercised their legal right in our country to demand justice in their workplace, just like the German workers in the homeland of this German employer.”
Glen Mpufane, IndustriALL mining director, said: “This is a bad example of violation of workers’ rights when the employer is trying to use the short-term contract system in Belarus and get rid of workers who try to defend their rights. We urge Deilmann-Haniel to stop persecuting workers in Belarus and apply all legal safety requirements at their operation in Belarus, in cooperation with BITU representatives.”
Michael Wolters IG BCE international department said: "It is a very unusual unsocial behavior of a German mining company. Ending the contracts of workers because they signed a complaint to the state authorities as the company refused to explain, why it is not following the occupational safety rules of Belarus. I am pretty sure the works council won‘t be happy to hear about this bad record, which is not helpful for a company, who is depending on contracts abroad.“