18 April 2015, Saturday, 10:17

Aliaksandr Jarashuk: ILO has leverage over regime in Belarus

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ILO annual conference will look into the Belarusian issue.

The leader of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BCDTU) Aliaksandr Jarashuk summarized in an interview to Belarusian Partisan the outcomes of the meeting of the International Labour Organization’s Administrative Council that took place in Geneva on 25-26 March. It is worth to point out that meeting took place at the same time as Free Trade Union’s members were on hunger strike at Babrujsk Tractor Parts and Units plant, who protested against the humiliation of their human dignity, discrimination of the plant’s Free Trade Union organization and its members.

- The Administrative Council looked into ILO mission’s report that visited Minsk on 27-31 January 2014. Report speaks of the unfavorable situation over the rights of trade unions that has settled in Belarus, of not following ILO’s recommendations on respecting workers’ rights. The report was acutely critical.

ILO’s Administrative Council took into consideration the mission’s report on the unfavorable situation over the rights of workers and trade unions in Belarus and took a decision to look into the ”Belarusian problem” in full at the annual Labour Conference in June 2014. On the agenda there is the issue of Belarus’ government following the Convention 87 – one of the ILO’s two fundamental conventions, which Belarus ratified, but does not follow. It is the matter of the right of workers to freely create trade union organization and the right to freely join trade unions, - Aliaksandr Jarashuk said.

- In fact, the Administrative Council admitted its feebleness?

- The ILO did not admit its feebleness, on the contrary. The behavior of Belarusian government is a direct challenge to the whole ILO system: not a single country allowed itself to behave in such a provocative manner. That is why the Administrative Council decided not to leave this challenge without consequences. Many Administrative Council members are indignant at such insolent and offhand behavior of official Minsk: it is the matter of saving the organization’s reputation in the least.

- What “other ways” of influence on the regime in Belarus may the ILO develop in the conditions, when the whole world’s checks&balances system is collapsing before our eyes?

- I have no right to speak of possible solutions, which may be adopted at the annual Labour Conference. Of course, on the sidelines of the ILO’s Administrative Council meetings and negotiations took place with many influential ILO members. We all agreed in the opinion that official Minsk has developed certain immunity as to six special paragraphs that the ILO employed against Belarusian authorities. The regime came to believe that a special paragraph is a mosquito bite. That is why it is necessary to “persuade” the authorities in Belarus that apart from special paragraphs there are also other ways to influence such regimes.