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Belarus: work contract not renewed over union activity

1 April, 2020Mikalaj Valadzko’s work contract was terminated by German-based Redpath Deilmann over his activities in IndustriALL affiliate Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU). 

For the past six months, union leaders and members have been trying to obtain safety certification of their jobs at Redpath Deilmann, according to Belarusian legislation. So far, the company uses loopholes in the legislation and avoids implementing the certification of workplaces.

Mikalaj Valadzko is a highly skilled specialist with no disciplinary record. One month ago, a trade union group of workers at Redpath Deilmann registered with BITU, and Mikalaj Valadzko was elected chairperson of the group.

The events show that the non-renewal of Valadzko’s contract is an act of retaliation for his trade union work, and constitutes a case of discrimination based on trade union membership.

In a letter to Redpath Deilmann management Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary, says that the decision appears to be a very selective interpretation of Belarusian and in contradiction with the national labour legislation the company observes in its operations in Germany.

According to Redpath Deilmann, Mikalaj Valadzko’s contract was not renewed on the basis of the nationally existing system of short-term contracts.

“There is ample evidence to prove that the non-renewal of his contract is in retaliation for his trade union work. We urge you to immediately reconsider your decision and renew the contract of Mr Valadzko.

“We also urge you to certify all the workplaces in accordance with the Belarusian legislation and apply all the safety measures required by national legislation,” says Valter Sanches.