According to the website of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, members of the mission received information on violations of the rights of independent trade unions. The BCDTU activists told the international experts of the specific facts of violations of the rights of free and independent trade unions at the Babruisk plant of tractor parts and units, Mazyr refinery, “Naftan”, JSC “Polatsk-Fiberglass”, of unlawful refusals to register the trade union’s Babruisk city office and illegal deregistration of the Barysau branch. Members of the mission received documents with evidence of violations allegations voiced by the trade union representative. In addition, the ILO mission met with representatives of the independent trade union of the “Granite” state-owned enterprise, which was dissolved by the authorities.
The Belarusian issue of abuse of workers’ rights has been on the ILO’s agenda since 2000. In 2004, the Belarusian government received 12 recommendations. The authorities were urged to provide the opportunity to register independent unions’ local offices; to cease harassment of citizens on union affiliation; to ensure that all trade union organizations enjoyed the right to participate in addressing key social problems of the country. However, the official Minsk ignored the ILO recommendations. As a result, in 2007 the country was excluded from the Generalized System of Preferences of the European Union.
The ILO mission will stay in Belarus until 31 January. Its representatives plan to meet with the leadership of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the official Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus and to visit a number of enterprises.