At the “Euroradio” Studio, Gennady Fedynich, the leader of the REP Trade Union, and Andrei Strizhak, a member of the REP’s Council, answered questions about the work of the trade union.
“Have the authorities managed to intimidate REP by the ‘trade union case’?”
Gennady Fedynich: “As always, the authorities failed to think it over properly and achieved the opposite. In 2018, 320 people joined the REP; this is more than in all previous years. In this way people responded to authorities’ intimidation. The power is with those who have truth, and not vice versa.“
Andrei Strizhak: “The authorities wanted to write an obituary on us, but made a wonderful promotion. If we talk about the regions, then in Gomel, for example, the work is very active. It is symbolic that the first victory of the REP Trade Union in 2019 was in Gomel – in the case of the Gomel Distillery.“
Gennady Fedynich told about how he would work after the sentencing: “As to my work, I’ll perform my duties as before; as to the seized computers and other equipment, I am very ashamed of the investigating authorities, who gave us an answer that they still need to check something. But we saw that all the checks had been carried out. In any case, we hope to have our equipment back soon.“
Andrei Strizhak answers the question about whether they searched for other spies in the REP after Yulia Yukhnovets’ confessions: “We decided not to resort to such ‘witch-hunting’ and not to ease the law enforcers’ work; their only aim to break our unity and disrupt the work of the union. However, we’ve learnt some lessons.“
Gennady Fedynich has recalled that in 2018, there were at least 68 trials, in which REP defended workers’ rights: “We won more than half of them. Sometimes, our first-instance courts make decisions outside their competence or the law. In such cases, we appeal and lodge complaints, and go through instances until we finally win. As for the ‘trade union case’, our international colleagues suggested that we make a list of the persons, who had staged the case, in order to ban their trips to Europe.“