UNI joined global unions and trade union activists in Geneva to speak out against the repression of workers’ rights in Belarus, to stand in solidarity with jailed trade unionists in Belarus and to call for their immediate release.
This followed the historic decision of the ILO, following two decades of inaction by the Government of Belarus, to adopt a resolution under Article 33 of its constitution challenging Belarus’ continued disregard for workers’ rights and the arrest of countless trade unionists. A process that has only been used once before in the over 100 year history of the ILO. This creates the possibility of sanctions against Belarus for their abuse of freedom of association and increased support for those persecuted for standing up for worker’s rights in the country.
Maksim Pazniakou, acting president of the the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) told the rally that, “Your support is very important for those in jail; they know that they have support from the outside and that they are not alone.”
UNI Assistant General Secretary Alke Boessiger said, “The Government of Belarus must immediately release all trade unionists jailed simply for standing up for the fundamental rights of workers. UNI Global Union calls on the international community to follow up on the historic decision of the ILO, and take all necessary steps to secure their freedom, and the right of all workers in Belarus to freely exercise their fundamental rights.”
To learn more about the struggle for trade union rights in Belarus, read more at the ITUC.