Global unions call on governments and employers to help end Belarus’ labour rights abuses

Various global unions, including the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), issued a statement expressing its strong opposition to the worsening labour rights violations in Belarus, which culminated in 2022 with the dissolution of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates and arrests and detention of more than 40 trade union leaders and activists, including BKDP President Yarashuk and Vice-President Antusevich. It said that the country’s repression of free trade unionism is escalating, notably the persistent failure of its government to implement the findings of the 2004 ILO Commission of Inquiry.

Asserting that trade unionism is not a crime, the global unions issued the statement leading to the forthcoming International Labour Conference (ILC). They stated that the ILC must agree to take action under Article 33 of the ILO Constitution, to pressure the Belarusian government to release trade union leaders and activists, reinstate the unions and demonstrate real commitment to implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. 

The global unions also urged trade unions around the world to press their respective governments and employers’ organisations to vote with the worker representatives at the ILC in support of a comprehensive set of measure involving the ILO bodies, Member States and international organizations, including the United Nations.

Read the full statement here.