Belarus is one of the 10 worst countries for working people

No guarantee of rights (?)

Country score is the same as last year.

Since April 2022, the Belarusian government further escalated repression against independent trade unions: intimidating, arresting, and detaining union leaders and members, forcibly dissolving unions, raiding offices, and confiscating properties. Currently, 42 union leaders and members have been wrongfully detained or imprisoned, and many more are deprived of their rights and freedoms. Those who are released by the authorities find themselves branded as ‘extremists’ and treated like pariahs in society.

The shocking decline of trade union rights and civil and political freedoms has prompted the International Labour Conference (ILC) to adopt a resolution on Article 33 of the ILO Constitution, the highest level of ILO supervision, to secure the government’s compliance with the recommendations of an ILO Commission of Inquiry.

Mass, spurious arrests of workers

The government ruthlessly victimised opponents and employees it deemed “disloyal to the regime”. An employee of the OJSC Belarusian Steel Works was arrested and brought to court in Navapolatsk on charges that included "insulting the President of the Republic of Belarus". On 5 February 2024, he was charged with "incitement of racial, national, religious or other social enmity or discord”, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Similar targeted arrests took place throughout 2023 and continued in 2024. In February 2024, law enforcers detained at least three employees of Gazprom Transgaz Belarus. They were forced to sign statements admitting their involvement in “support of protest sentiments”, possession of “protest symbols”, and reposting materials from “extremist” Telegram channels.

Credit: Radio Free Europe

There are currently 42 trade union leaders and members wrongfully detained or imprisoned, with others having been forced into exile.

Union leaders detained in deplorable conditions

Since 2020’s rigged presidential elections, inhumane conditions of detention have been imposed on political detainees, including trade unionists. Detainees in crowded prisons are denied basic hygiene products, changes of clothes, and bedding. They are not allowed to shower or access fresh air and lights are left on continuously day and night.

Aliaksandr Yarashuk, the President of Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on 27 December 2022. He is currently in a “strict regime” prison in Mogilev where he is kept in a cell for 23 hours a day and allowed just one four-hour visit and one item of post per year.