About the creation of trade unions in the private sector
One of the requirements for the Belarusian authorities, as set out in the Conclusion of the International Labour Conference held in June in Geneva, is to stop forcing businesses to create trade unions. This practice violates both employers’ rights and employees’ rights to voluntarily join trade unions. Judging by the results of yesterday’s meeting of Aleksandr Lukashenko with the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Mikhail Orda, no one in our country intends to learn a lesson from the requirements of the ILO. Once again, we hear the threats from the authorities regarding the liquidation of the business in case a trade union is not created there.
In connection with the 6-year campaign to create trade unions in the private sector of the economy, heads of firms and companies have been repeatedly applied to us, especially since last autumn, with requests to help them create an independent trade union that is part of the BKDP. We rejected the idea. For two reasons. First, because we did not want to frame the business owners. In case an independent trade union is created, the risks of its liquidation will increase exponentially. Secondly, we reasonably consider such creation of trade union organizations to be a profanation and discreditation of the very idea of trade unions. The initiative to join trade unions should come not from the authorities and not from business, but from the employees themselves.
Trade unions are voluntarily created public organizations that are independent of government and business. The employees’ right to organize into trade unions is enshrined in the Constitution, the laws of the country and the ILO Conventions ratified by Belarus. However, this right does not imply the obligation of both employers and employees to form trade unions.
It’s beyond all understanding why the authorities, with such persistence, fall into the same trap again and again, against the will of business and the workers themselves, striving to create trade union organizations within domestic companies and firms. After all, this will not help the authorities solve any problems – neither social nor political. Instead, it will become another motive for business and its employees to relocate outside the country…