Private enterprises are not in a hurry to create primary trade union organizations
The other day, the chairman of the Minsk city association of trade union organizations, Aleksandr Schekovich, complained to the correspondent of the Minsk-Novosti news agency that the The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) is faced with the reluctance of private companies to create primary trade union organizations. Here are excerpts from an interview with the trade-union official and explain what is wrong in his words.
– We are faced with resistance. There is also some misunderstanding on the part of the leaders. We talk with representatives of organizations of various forms of ownership. There are such organizations with only three employees. We understand perfectly well that it is difficult to create a primary organization there. But there are large companies where the employer does not understand why he needs a trade union and does not want to let our representatives communicate with the collective. We continue to work with such enterprises through the executive branch.
– Approximately 1,000 private organizations categorically refused to create primary organizations. Initially, it was planned to take 5 thousand organizations, but we realized that we can’t cover all of them at once since there are 67,000 legal entities in Minsk.
“Everything is fine at my enterprise, there is a good social package, the employees do not complain, so we don’t need you”, – this is the answer we hear. There is a category of enterprises with which we are negotiating. These leaders took a “wait and see” approach. They are neither “for” nor “against”. There are about 2,000 such organizations in the capital. But we also understand that if the process takes six months, no one needs such a delay. Therefore, when a certain period of time passes, we say to such leaders: “Dear, either you say “yes, we will create a trade union organization”, or we consider you to be an organization that refuses to do so in a categorical form”.
– The number of objectors is growing: at the beginning of the year there were 430 of them and now, six months later, the number is 935. The group of hesitant employers is also growing. We hope that they will hear the Head of State and his message: “Where there is a labour collective, its interests should be represented by trade unions”.
– When there is such a wild confrontation, a legitimate question arises: what is happening at the enterprise? After all, the employer does not need to finance a trade union committee; he does not need to introduce any staff unit. There is no need to spend additional finances. We suggest that they should work within the framework of the law and we understand that something is wrong at such enterprises.
– We always say: “Dear leaders, give us the opportunity to come”. We often hear in response: “We discussed it with the staff members; people do not want to create a trade union”. However, often an organization is led by a person who has never been in a trade union, who does not know what we are doing. How could they explain to employees what our organization is for and what we can offer?
Let us come to the enterprise. We are professionals, we will come and tell you what we will do, how we will protect your interests, explain what we can offer, how we can help your children and you personally in various situations. But we are still not allowed in, and they argue the refusal only by the fact that during questioning people say that they do not want to create primary organizations.
We would like to remind the FPB officials that the initiative to create a trade union and membership in it should come not from the authorities and not from the head of the business but exclusively from the employees themselves.
Both the Constitution and the laws of the country enshrine the right of employees to form trade unions. However, this right does not provide for the obligation of employees and employers to organize a primary organization. The establishment of trade union organizations in the private sector of the economy by directive from above is a profanation and discredit to the very idea of trade unions. The state system has turned the creation of a trade union at the enterprise upside down. Forcing employees to become unionized is a flagrant violation of their rights.