Antusevich: We see how shocked our colleagues from the international trade union movement are

    Why repression against workers can lead to grave consequences

    – The independent trade union has always been under pressure, however, this pressure has never been so strong before, – Siarhei Antusevich, the Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), comments on the repression taking place at Grodno Azot, OJSC. – Detentions, attempts to discredit, dismissal, appeals to the prosecutor’s office…

    There are very few countries in the world that ignore the appeals and requirements of the International Labour Organization. As for the events happening now in the center of Europe, in a country that has ratified all the fundamental ILO conventions – they all go beyond the bounds of common sense.

    The BKDP Deputy Chairman said that all international organizations are being promptly informed about all repressions.

    – Informing has already switched to online mode, because news appears not just every day, but every hour. And we see how shocked our colleagues from the international trade union movement are.

    Usually, the governments of all countries try to strictly comply with the requirements specified by international trade union organizations, global unions, and international trade union confederations.

    In 2004, the ILO Commission of Inquiry, while working in Belarus, revealed a number of violations that have not been eliminated to date. And now the situation with workers’ rights is getting worse and worse, – said the trade union leader.

    He recalled that at some point it was due to the ILO’s control mechanisms that they managed to put an end to discrimination against independent trade unions at Grodno Azot, OJSC and to successfully defend the trade union primary organization.

    – We managed to preserve the organization. Since August 9 last year, it has expanded many times over. And I think that the primary organization of the independent trade union at the enterprise will continue to operate despite the unprecedented wave of repression.

    I think that intimidation is the main purpose of this pressure. We do not know on what grounds people are detained, we do not know their status in the case, etc. Of course, sooner or later we will find out all the details. Obviously, those people who exert pressure upon us do not understand why they do it. They simply execute the order and do not think about the consequences, – says Siarhei Antusevich.

    He has a strong belief that ignoring the fundamental norms of international law and legislation can lead to grave consequences for the entire country, in particular, affect the social and economic situation. The ILO may become another significant voice against the Belarusian regime in the international arena.

    – After all, there was a case when, due to non-compliance with the requirements of the ILO, on the basis of their recommendations, the EU adopted a resolution to exclude Belarus from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). And now the ILO’s resolutions can significantly affect the economy of Belarus, which is already undermined by the sanctions, – says Siarhei Antusevich.