MEU condemns attacks on Belarusian unions

Published: 2 Jun 2022

We have joined the international trade union movement in condemning a blatant attack on the independent trade union movement by authorities in Belarus.

Recently, the Committee for State Security of Belarus took a decision to list the Belarusian Radio and Electronic Industry Workers' Union (REP) as an extremist organisation and ban its activities. The Belarusian Radio and Electronic Industry Workers' Union (REP) was founded in 1990, and since then it has been fighting for workers’ rights in Belarus. It is a recognised independent union by the international labour movement.

Since then, Belarusian authorities have targeted leaders, activists and ordinary members of various Belarusian independent trade unions, Belarusian Radio and Electronic Industry Workers' Union REP, Belarusian Independent Trade Union BITU and Free trade Union of Metalworkers SPM, who are subject to continued pressure and reprisals from the authorities and employers for their activities in defence of workers' rights.

Belarusian authorities have arrested dozens of trade union leaders, who have been interrogated, placed under severe pressure, detained, and sentenced to imprisonment. One union leader who was 77 years old was interrogated for seven hours and was hospitalised due to a heart attack.

This is something that authorities have been building up to, following increasing interrogations of union figures, pressuring members to leave their unions, illegally installing video and listening devices in union offices, and even having police raid the homes of union officials.

This is a gross violation of the rights of Belarusian working people to exercise their right to join trade unions to fight for stronger conditions and more protections at work.

The MEU has written to the Belarusian Embassy in Australia, calling on the Administration of the President of the Republic of Belarus and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus to act urgently in order to stop the repression of independent trade unions, their leaders, and members.

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