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Trade union harassment continues in Belarus

23 March, 2022The situation for trade unions in Belarus continues to deteriorate with union offices being searched and union leaders detained by the police.

On 21 March, the union office at oil company Naftan was searched and turned upside down. Equipment, including union computers, documentation and union flags were seized by the police.

Union activist Nina Barysava was detained for a night, her home was searched and her phone was taken by the police. The apartment of Gennadz Vorona, BITU vice-chair at Naftan, was also searched.

Volha Brytsikava, chair of BITU at Naftan, is in prison after receiving three terms of 15 days arrest for her anti-war position.

According to reports, the searches and arrests are carried out by the police to scare the union into disclosing the lists of remaining members at Naftan, as demanded by the prosecutor’s office.

Last month also saw police cracking down on trade unions. 67-year old Aleksandr Yevdokimchik, deputy head of IndustriALL affiliate SPM, was detained on 24 February when he came to work in the union office. At a trial four days later, Yevdokimchik was convicted for hooliganism, allegedly committed at the police station, and spent 17 days in jail.

Says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie:

“As long as the brutal harassment of trade unions continues, IndustriALL will continue to fight for our unions. The violations must stop and Belarus must respect the obligations of ILO Convention 87, which the government has ratified.”