SPM calls for international solidarity

    The Free Metalworkers’ Union (SPM) has informed the international trade union community about the persecution of its members and the pressure on the organizations.

    In connection with the detention of its members and the attack on the organizations, the SPM calls on the fraternal independent trade unions from neighbouring Russia and the representatives of international organizations to show solidarity.

    In recent months, the crackdown on members of the Free Metalworkers Union, an affiliate of IndustriALL, has significantly intensified. SPM activists were arrested, fired, and their homes were searched. In fear of further persecution, some members of the trade union had to leave the country”, says SPM chairman Aleksandr Bukhvostov in a letter.

    Recently, the SPM trade union has faced massive pressure on its members in Mogilev. Employees were forced to withdraw from SPM under the threat of losing their jobs.

    Violations of the provisions of the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) occur at such enterprises as OJSC Mogilevkhimvolokno, OJSC Mogilevliftmash, Republican Unitary Enterprise DSK, OJSC Trest 17, Gosstrakh and a number of others. The Appeal to the city administration  to stop this total lawlessness remained without a sensible response. According to SPM members, the heads of the enterprises refer to the Committee for State Security bodies demanding such actions from them”, the letter says.

    Repression against SPM activists does not stop at the country’s key enterprises where SPM trade union cells are present.

    Aleksandr Bukhvotov focuses on the fact that the tension in relation to the SPM organizations and members of the trade union is only growing: “Almost all heads of primary organizations have lost their jobs. The hunt for SPM members has started. Dismissals at enterprises continue“.

    One of the latest glaring facts mentioned in the appeal is the arrest of Artem Zhernak,the chairman of the SPM primary organization at OJSC MAZ. He has been in custody since November 17.

    Letters were sent to two members of the Executive Committee of IndustriAll Global Union: the Chairman of the Mining and Metallurgical Trade Union of Russia Aleksey Bezymyannykh and the Chairman of the Russian Independent Trade Union of Coal Industry Workers Ivan Mokhnakuch, as well as to the leaders of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia (FNPR) and the leaders of the Pan-European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC PERC).