On January 18, a respective letter was received by the BNP office from the Soligorsk District Executive Committee (DEC). It took eight months and three constituent assemblies to register the BNP unit at the “Remmontazhstroy Trust” Company.
A month ago, for the third time, a set of registration documents was submitted to the DEC. Four sets of documents were submitted by four union activists in parallel, so that they “are not lost,” as was the case last time, and four witnesses could testify in court. This time, the letter was different from the previous two ones:
“… Soligorsk DEC HAS DECIDED:
- To register the primary trade union organization of the workers of the “Remmontazhstroy Trust” Company of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union of Miners, Chemists, Oil Refiners, Power Engineers, Transport Workers, Builders and Other Workers (BNP);
- To issue a corresponding certificate of state registration of the above primary trade union organization.“
The decision could have been facilitated by the visit to Soligorsk of Natalia Kachanova, the head of the Presidential Administration of Belarus, who on the eve, on January 17, according to our sources, held a meeting with DEC officials. Let us remind you that a week ago, Sergey Cherkasov, Chairman of the Independent Trade Union of Miners (NPG) at the “Belaruskali” OJSC, personally addressed Ms Kachanova; and Soligorsk unionists adopted a resolution demanding to register the BNP organization of “Remmontazhstroy”.
Nikolai Zimin, Chairman of the BNP, also believes that the decision was made at a higher level than the DEC:
“Perhaps, local officials didn’t dare to take such a step and involved higher levels of power: the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Justice, and the Presidential Administration. The international appeals of trade union leaders have also affected. But the main reason was the unity of our members, who didn’t disperse at first problems. All this gave the result. In fact, registration of a trade-union unit should be an ordinary event, and it should not bother the officials or the workers, who have decided to create their own trade union.“
The workers and BNP activists working at the “Remmontazhstroy” perceived the news more emotionally. Alexander Sechko, a member of the newly registered trade union group, could not hide his feelings:
“Today, I came to the BNP office at 7:30 in the morning and waited for the postman, who finally brought the letter of our victory. I want to thank everyone who believed in us, who supported us and stayed with us. We are grateful to NPG members of the ‘Belaruskali’, our fraternal trade unions of Belarus, and our foreign brothers and sisters for their support and solidarity. Long live Belarus! Long live our trade union!“
In the near future, members of the registered organization will hold a meeting to appoint the date of a conference, where the leadership and working bodies of the new BNP organization will be elected.