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Union rights abused in Belarus

20 August, 2013In violation of the national legislation the Belarusian authorities try to close down a local organization of the Radio and Electronics Industry Workers’ Union (REP), an IndustriALL affiliate in Belarus.

On 5 August 2013 the trade union REP received a notice from the District Executive Committee of Borisov about revocation of registration granted to its local organization in Borisov. The notice was received one month after the union REP sent a request to the Committee asking to help them to find any kind of premise in the city of Borisov in order to place REP local office and perform their statutory activities. Unfortunately, for unclear reasons the owner of the building, where the office of the union used to be located previously, refused to provide the legal address to the organization and notified about this fact the Executive Committee. However, the owner failed to inform the trade union about this decision.

In accordance with the national legislation in Belarus every local union organization has to be registered by the local authorities. Such a registration is granted under condition of a legal address, which is given based on the location of the trade union organization.

The local organization of REP in Borisov city was registered by the Borisov District Executive Committee on February 2007. In fact the possibility to revoke registration is foreseen by the law, but the reasons listed by the Belarusian legislation do not contain any time frame for change of the legal address and can’t be the reason for revocation of registration of the local union.

In this particular case the illegal decision to revoke the registration of the local union is in violation of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87 Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise ratified by the Republic of Belarus. This is not the first case when Belarusian authorities interfere with the internal affairs of trade unions. As a matter of fact the violations of trade union rights in Belarus became subject to constant consideration by the ILO since 2000, when Belarusian trade unions submitted a joint complaint against violation of their rights. Several times Belarus was considered as a special case, but so far the practice to interfere in union affairs still preserves.

The IndustriALL Global Union addressed to the administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus, Ministry of Justice and Borisov District Executive Committee demanding to abolish the illegal decision revoking registration and stop repressions against the trade union REP and its structural units. Moreover, IndustriALL appealed to the authorities of Belarus to start fulfilling their country’s obligations in face of the ILO and respect workers’ rights to join trade unions and perform trade union work without interference of bodies of authority.

IndustriALL calls on to express solidarity with the trade union REP and to send letters of protest to Belarusian authorities. The protest can be sent through a special form published on this page.