BKDP COUNCIL CONDEMNS PROVOCATIVE ACTIONS OF FPB LEADERSHIP
At the BKDP Council meeting May 18, 2009 the proposition of the Government to include BKDP representative into tripartite officialdelegation to the 98th annual International Labor Conference was discussed. The Council members entrusted the BKDP Chairman Alexander Yaroshuk to represent the interests of the organization at this important international forum. The Council adopted its Statement where the assessment was given to the events related to broadening of the dialogue between the Government and the ILO and implementation of its recommendations. Special attention was focused on negative role of the leadership of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) in all these processes.
Statement of the Council of Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP)
18 May, 2009,Minsk,
The Council of BKDP discussed the proposal of the Government to include the BKDP representative into the official tripartite delegation to the 98th International Labor Conference in Geneva. We welcome this initiative and regard it as an important and a responsible step on the way to further expansion of dialogue with International Labor Organization (ILO) and fulfillment of its recommendations.
In recent time we are witnessing certain efforts of the Government to normalize the situation with trade union rights in the country. This is evident from the facts that the BKDP was reinstated in the National Tripartite Council for Labor and Social Issues (NCLSI), was given access to participate in bargaining process and signing the General Agreement between the Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations for the years of 2009-2010, some facts discriminating independent unions were eliminated, the Action Plan of the Government on further implementation of the ILO recommendations was prepared and adopted and its implementation has already started.
These were important steps but only first ones that were made on the way to restoration of trade union rights in the country. The crucial change of the situation has not happened yet.
By all means not all in the country are interested in normal development of events. We have to say it openly: there is force in the country that, by all accounts, has got the purpose to reverse the dialogue between the Government and the ILO that has got trend for forging as well as compromise that has been reached not in an easy way. We speak about the position of the leadership of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB). The leader of the Federation is making provocative statements that the one of the FPB’s objectives is the struggle against independent unions and ceasing of their existence in the long run.
As a tool in that struggle the Federation has chosen the exclusion of our organizations from the collective bargaining process at the company level. Today the FPB does everything to block participation of independent unions at OAO”Grodnoazot” and OAO “Naftan” oil refinery in collective bargaining. Without any lawful grounds the management of Novolukoml hydraulic power station refuses the primary-level organization of Belarusian Free Trade Union to conclude collective agreement.
It came to a point where the FPB information resources started permanent obstruction of the recent constructive position of the Government. It became a usual practice for FPB to give inadmissible assessments of the activity of the Minister of Labor and Social Protection V.Potupchik and to accuse him of being in cahoots with BKDP leadership. One can ask what cahoots they go into. To be in cahoots so that to bring trade preferences back into the country? Then what is bad or criminal about it? Or would it be better not to bring preferences back at all? From viewpoint of logics of FPB leadership – yes, no need to care about preferences - the Government policy in relations with the ILO and independent unions should express only egoistic interests of the FPB leader. The fact that this will lead to negative consequences for and its people doesn’t matter for him at all provided that the individual FPB officials feel good.
Exactly such a seditious position pushes FPB leadership to a barbarous conduct similar to that demonstrated on 24 February of the current year at the meeting of the tripartite NCLSI when the FPB leader tried to block the adoption of Action Plan of the Government proposed by V.Potupchik on further implementation of the ILO recommendations.
The FPB leadership has put the purpose to freeze the normalization of the situation with trade union rights in Belarus and it permanently tries to amend the Labor Code, to introduce into legislation the concept of representativeness of unions, to attempt to change the rules of procedure in the NCLSI in order to let the FPB to manipulate the BKDP representativeness in this body. The final aim of all these actions is evident – to fix legally its monopoly on trade union movement in the country.
Such provocative conduct of FPB leadership seriously plagues the development of dialogue between the Government and the ILO. As a consequence, it directly threatens the perspectives of bringing trade preferences of the European Union back to the country. Today we can state in a responsible manner that due to “endeavors” of the FPB top leaders the opportunity of raising the issue of returning trade preferences already in June this year at the annual Labor Conference has been missed.
We are watching closely with great concern how rapidly the leadership of the largest union organization of the country is degrading. The “dog and pony show” and growing detachment from needs and concerns of the people and union members of the FPB leadership activities prevail over a well balanced and constructive position in taking complex decisions on labor and social issues.
Self-admiration, self-praise, permissiveness and luxurious wants against the background of heavy everyday life of ordinary Belarusians as well as lack of critical self-appreciation and of their activity has led some of the leading FPB officials to the point where they started putting their poundage point of view higher than the interests of workers and, as a consequence, higher than the interests of the country and its people.
The current FPB leadership perfectly realizes that the normalization of relations between the Government and the ILO as well as full restoration of rights of independent unions would mean the end to all its doubtful affairs and licence they have used to allow lately: namely, putting an end to annual trips of family members as members of official Belarus delegation to the International Labor Conference in Geneva. This fact has become notorious in the international trade union community and among union representatives of different countries. It is no wonder that the FPB is almost in full isolation in the international union movement.
We call on the Government and the employers’ organizations, including directors of companies where independent unions are available to ignore the provocations on the part of the FPB and lead the process of implementations of recommendations to its end.
On our part, we declare that we are ready to undertake any constructive action at this crucial moment. We consider that the goal of starting the procedure of restoring GSP preferences deserves bringing all efforts together to offer rebuff to any provocateur for whom this goal is in opposition to his own personal interests and ambitions.
Council of BKDP
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