We will withstand and win

    We cherished no illusions that the ruling regime would start to implement the Opinion of the International Labor Conference which ended on June 19 in Geneva. The statements of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection Irina Kostevich, who during the ILC denied the facts of violation of the rights of workers and trade unions in the country, made it clear that the authorities were not going to stop the repressive machine launched against the workers. The Minister accused the BKDP of destructive activity and referred to the organization as to an enemy of the state, and those words can be understood as an open threat to the destruction of independent trade unions.

    Today this threat is being put into effect. Recently, a group of employees who are the members of the Belarusian Free Trade Union has been dismissed from the Institute of Genetics and Cytology of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus. The day before yesterday, on July 7, the Committee for State Security officers detained Andrey Dechko, the leader of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union of OJSC Peleng, and a search was carried out in his apartment. Yesterday police officers conducted searches of the activists of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union of OJSC Naftan in Novopolotsk: the deputy chairmen of the independent trade union Yuri Gashev and Denis Gursky, secretary-treasurer Dmitry Koyro, trade union lawyer Aleksandr Kapshul. Denis Gursky and Dmitry Koyro were detained for three days.

    We don’t know who of the members of independent trade unions and in what form will be subjected to pressure, repression and dismissals, and we don’t know. The only thing we know is that the logic of thinking of people who recognize the language of violence as the only means of communicating with their opponents will push them again and again to more and more reprisals against us.

    We are used to being under such extreme conditions. We have been in the paradigm of the struggle for our own existence and survival for the past two decades. Pressure, repressions, dismissals, arrests, convictions are a permanent background against which independent trade unions are carrying out their activities. We managed to withstand in the past, and we will withstand today as well. We will withstand and, without any doubts, we will win…