Aliaksandr Yarashuk: The key point is to eliminate the cause of the sanctions

    Aliaksandr Yarashuk, the Chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, calls on the official trade unions to focus on eliminating the cause of the sanctions and then to demand their lifting

    Economic sanctions imposed on Belarus by the European Union and the United States affected 22 companies. The sanctions list includes four industrial enterprises that are strategically important for the economy: Grodno Azot, Khimvolokno plant, Belarusneft and Belshina. Experts tend to believe that the sanctions will have a profound impact on the Belarusian economy after they enter into full force and effect.

    Trade unions of Belarus, in turn, started signature-gathering in support of an open letter to the International Labour Organization, workers and employers of other countries. The letter is available on the Internet. It says that European officials have no right to limit the rights of workers in other countries. According to the authors of the letter, the introduction of such measures against Belarusian enterprises is not an expression of the workers’ demands.

    The appeal of the official trade unions to citizens with a request to sign under the letter says that this is an absolutely voluntary matter.

    The Narodnaya Volya newspaper asked the Chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions Aliaksandr Yarashuk to comment on the situation.

    According to Yarashuk, nowhere in the world trade unions are calling for sanctions, because that contradicts their objectives. Therefore, the addressee to whom the official trade unions of Belarus turn seems to be strange. In the opinion of Yarashuk, it is more important to eliminate the cause of the sanctions imposed against Belarusian enterprises.

    The reason is known – repression against workers, the landing of a plane with EU citizens, the migration crisis on the borders with the EU countries, – says Yarashuk. – And it is clear that the EU countries cannot be denied the protection of their borders and their own security.

    Aliaksandr Yarashuk believes that the authorities should immediately start a dialogue with opponents, no matter how difficult it may be, and jointly agree on the way get out of this acute political, social and economic crisis.

    If this happens, we can hope that other countries that have imposed sanctions will hear us, – Yarashuk said. – The only way out of this situation is a nationwide dialogue.

    As for signature-gathering, the head of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions says that each person should decide for himself what to do in this situation.

    People contact us with complaints about the way signatures are collected, but they do it only on the condition of confidentiality, – says Yarashuk. – But if no one mentions the names, then no one will do anything, because on whose behalf will they do it?

    Unfortunately, according to Yarashuk, under the given circumstances people are still afraid, although they can lose everything they have because of this fear.