Belarus: Repression stepped up with prison sentences for strikes

In an intensification of anti-union repression by the Lukashenko regime, three workers in the town of Zhlobin have been sentenced to prison terms of 2.5 and 3 years.

Igor Povarov, Alexander Bobrov and Yevgeny Govor have been imprisoned for seeking to organise a strike at the BMZ metals plant on 17 August, 2020.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “We denounce this escalation of the attack on the right to strike in Belarus. The authorities show no regard for the right of workers to withdraw their labour, which is enshrined in international law. The international community needs to be strong in supporting the will of workers and indeed all the people of the country.”

While these prison sentences were explicitly aimed at suppressing the right to strike, several other people have been imprisoned for participating in public actions.

Management at the BMZ plant is trying to stifle the activities of a newly formed independent union, and witch-hunts against workers trying to organise genuine unions in other workplaces around the country are also underway.

These sentences follow a supreme court ruling against the right to strike in January.