HANDS OFF OUR UNIONS!
AN APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR MOVEMENT: PLEASE GIVE SOLIDARITY TO DEMOCRATIC TRADE UNIONS IN BELARUS
The Lukashenko regime is doing everything it can to smash the democratic trade unions in Belarus. These unions, developed independently from the state unions which supported Lukashenko’s failed election, represent the best of Belarusian society. Though them there is a free exchange of ideas, the organization of strike committees within factories and solidarity action with workers marching for democracy and against the regime.
Every day we are now having to defend ourselves against round after round of attacks for the unions to survive.
The latest attack is on the Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB). Viktor Stukov, chairman of the SPB, a journalist and human rights activist, was detained near his home. He arrested for breaking the law in wrongly crossing the street has not been heard from since.
Viktor has also chaired the employees of SC Polotsk-Steklovolokno, Polotsk. The workers who joined the SPB union branch have been persecuted by the company’s administration and the local executive committee. They were thrown out of their rented premises and considerable funds from the union’s account were seized. The registration of the branch was then withdrawn.
These details show conclusively that the attack on Viktor is an attempt to crush the Free Trade Union of Belarus (SPB) at its base. A REP (the Belarusian Independent Union of Radio Electronics Workers) activist and human rights defender Mikalai Autukhovich, who has unionized small businesses has also recently been detailed and charged with falsified terrorist charges, potentially punishable by execution or life in prison.
Support free trade unions, end the dictatorship of state controlled unions!
Our future democratic society depends on the full development of mass trade unions built on top of the ruins of the official, yellow unions. We must make it clear that these yellow unions provided the base for Lukashenko by providing the support for his campaign. These unions victimize the workers who strike and demonstrate, demand the repayment of loans when workers are victimized, and have no part in improving workers’ lives.
All free trade unions are fighting for a democratic society not elite transition with a compact between the old and the new. We see our democratic society bringing democracy into the workplaces; getting rid of the Lukashenko director dictators and bring in a democratic plan of production. The dictatorship of the state controlled unions will be swept away! The people’s government will rest firmly on the majority: workers in power in the state, workplaces and in society.
We make it clear to the world: the official yellow unions are not unions at all. Unlike the dead hand of dictatorship, the democratic unions are the fulcrum for change. REP calls on trade unions, the parties of labour, and governments internationally to demand stopping repressions against Viktor Stukov and other activists, as well as the immediate release of all illegally arrested prisoners. REP is proud of our tradition of supporting every democratic union in mutual struggle; we’re building the solidarity of the future.
We appeal to comrades internationally to broaden the base of solidarity. Please could every union in every federation internationally take up our cause.
HANDS OFF DEMOCRATIC BELARUS UNIONS!
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL!
Signed Chairman of the Belarusian
Independent Union of Radio Electronics Workers (REP)