PARTICIPANTS OF ROUND TABLE ORGANIZED BY BKDP ADOPTED A RESOLUTION "ON THE RIGHT OF BELARUSIAN CITIZENS TO DECENT WORK"
The BKDP on October 7 had a roundtable discussion within the framework of the World Day for Decent Work campaign. It was attended by representatives of all four affiliates of BKDP - Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BNP), Belarusian Free Trade Union (SPB), Free Metalworkers’ Union (SPM) and Belarusian Union of Workers of Radio & Electronic Industry (REP). During live discussion a Resolution was adopted which will be forwarded to the Government of the country.
Opening the event the BKDP leader Alexander Yaroshuk stressed that the October 7 World Day for Decent Work first initiated by the International Trade Union Organization (ITUC), is really in demand as criteria and standards of decent work are not ensured in full worldwide. "On this day the whole world speaks trade union language. Our organization cannot allow this trade union chain to be cut off in a place where our country is situated on the globe "- said the BKDP leader.
The observation on the criteria of decent work has bee made by the head of BKDP legal department Elena Eskova. She emphasized that decent work, as a concept and action program, was initially introduced and supported by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 1999. It includes four major components: employment, rights, protection and social dialogue. Decent Work has been based on the idea that for ensuring best perspectives for achieving social progress and development all these four components are needed. After presenting brief overview of the national labor legislation and its application in practice Elena Eskova gave the participants a clear picture on how decent work criteria are ensured and implemented in practice in our country. Elena Eskova emphasized also that in Belarus the rule of law is not respected and her statement was proved by vivid example. The Labor Code prohibits the conclusion of fixed-term employment contract (Article 17) with the employees having work of a permanent charachter whereas in accordance with Presidential decree № 29 the short-term contracts are concluded with almost all workers of the country. She also noted that the wages of workers in Belarus can not ensure decent living for workers and their families. Several forms of forced labor still exist in the country as well as miserable unemployment benefits. Occupational health and safety regulations are ignored and the freedom of association is limited as well as freedom of speech and other basic freedoms are not respected at all.
Head of legal department also told those present that, in addition to ILO instruments that allow respecting the criteria of decent work, there is also the European Social Charter. This document also articulates the parameters of decent work and of protection mechanisms for workers. Among the rights protected by the Charter is the right to work, the right to have safe and healthy working conditions, the right to a fair remuneration, the right of men and women for equal pay, the right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining (including the right to strike ), the right to social security, the right to social and medical assistance and to receiving services from the social services institutions, the rights of family, people with disabilities, migrant workers and their families, the right to protection of children and young persons, etc.
European Social Charter has been ratified by many countries of the NIS, such as Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, partly by Russia. Belarus has not ratified the European Social Charter.
Countries that have ratified the Charter are entitled to observe the rules and parameters it proclaims. Elena Eskova proposed to launch a nationwide campaign urging the Government of Belarus to ratify European Social Charter. The participants of the “roundtable” unanimously supported the proposal and have included it into the text of the resolution.
In his intervention Alexander Korolev, vice-chairman of Independent Miners Union (NPG), proposed to call on the Government to start together with social partners reforming of the system of wage and salaries. The chair-man of the BNP primary organization at NAFTAN oil refinery Ivan Svyatokha talked on the need to revise the order of certification of workplaces from the viewpoint of OH&S; he was supported by the Head of the BKDP Women's Network Irina Zyl. The head of veterans' organization of NPG miners’union Alexander Dovnar stressed that retirees need their pensions be increased and other their benefits they have lost be returned. These and other issues raised by the participants of the “roundtable " found their reflection in the adopted resolution "On the rights of Belarusian citizens to decent work ".
"ON THE RIGHT OF BELARUSIAN CITIZENS TO DECENT WORK"
adopted by participants of the Roundtable organized by Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) within the framework of October 7, 2010 World Day for Decent Work
We, the participants of the “Round table”, dedicated to the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW), acting in solidarity with the international trade union movement, state the following: the current situation in the socio-economic and labor spheres of the country is far from conformity to standards and criteria approved by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The Constitutional right of citizens of the Republic of Belarus to work, as the most worthy drive for self-affirmation of a person, the right to choose a profession, occupation or work in line with someone’s avocations, abilities, education level, vocational skills is crossed out by humiliating system of fixed short-term employment contracts. The State fails to ensure wages and salaries sufficient for decent living of workers and their families. Wages in Belarus are 3-4 times lower than in Lithuania and Poland and by 1.5 times lower than in Russia.
Social protection of workers who received occupational diseases and injuries are not granted at all. Unemployment benefit is humiliatingly low and amounts to 16 USD only. Prices for food, utilities, health care and education are constantly growing. The citizens can not freely join trade unions for protecting and representing their legitimate rights and interests. Despite recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and temporary withdrawal of Belarus from the EU system of trade preferences the violations of rights of independent trade unions and workers continue.
The participants of the “roundtable”, being aware of the significance of decent work criteria identified by the ILO, urge the Government to ensure:
• the supremacy of labor laws and abolishment of Presidential Decree № 29 which legitimizes short-term contracts and thus contradicts international standards, the Constitution and the Labor Code.
• ratification of European Social Charter.
• equal opportunities for all citizens for the right to work, for access to productive employment and meaningful work, including for young people;
• decent income, which ensures decent living; increase of wages share in the GDP up to 50%;
• good working conditions and occupational health and safety in workplace;
• freedom of speech, rallies and meetings;
• absence of discrimination in industrial relations, including the elimination of anti-union discrimination;
• transparent privatization and participation of trade unions in the process;
• the right to organize in trade unions and the right to bargain collectively;
• protection against loss or reduction of incomes due to unemployment, injury, maternity, paternity or old age;
• payment of unemployment benefits in the amount not less than the minimum consumer budget;
• the right of pensioners to work after retirement and payment of pensions and wages in full; increase the level of pension size equaling to 50% of salary;
• equitable participation of wider public in addressing social issues.
Working people of Belarus! Unite your efforts in the fight for Decent Work!
Print | 08-10-2010, 18:03:00 | Admin