Belarus: ITUC condemns liquidation of independent trade unions

photo: Marco Fieber via Flickr

The regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus has brought the formal process of abolishing the country’s independent trade union movement to its conclusion.

Through a sham court process the government is deregistering the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates.

Dozens of union leaders detained in the coordinated purge against independent trade unions are also expected to go on trial later this month as the regime forcefully dissolves their organisations.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “We condemn outright this latest step in the Lukashenko regime’s campaign to destroy the independent trade unions of Belarus. This will only take the country further away from being a better place for all working people. Liquidating independent unions will not stop people from demanding respect for their fundamental rights, and acting accordingly.

“It is incumbent upon all organisations and governments with influence in Belarus to step in now and try and stop this madness.

“We stand in solidarity with the trade unionists and working people of Belarus and will give them all the support we can at this horrible time.”

The unions under attack in Belarus are:

  • The BKDP – the country’s first independent union centre, founded 29 years ago and an ITUC member since 2003;
  • The Free Trade Union of Metal Workers (SPM) – founded in 1995, it represents workers from the metal and machine building sector and is affiliated to IndustriAll Global Union;
  • The Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB) – founded in 1991, its affiliates represent working people in many sectors, including education, banking and self-employment and its healthcare branch is a member of the European Public Sector Union;
  • The Belarusian Trade Union of Workers of the Radio-Electronic Industry (REP) – started 32 years ago and an IndustriAll Global Union member;
  • The Belarusian Independent Trade Union – formed in 1991, representing working people in the industries of mining, chemicals, transport, energy and building, the largest independent union in the country and a member of IndustriAll Global Union and the IUF.