Open statement “For free democratic worker Belarus!”

Open statement “For free democratic worker Belarus!” to our Belarusian brothers and sisters of workers’ struggle from All-Ukrainian trade union ‘Labour Defence’.

Dear brothers and sisters in Belarus,

We are fascinated by your force and bravery in the struggle against the autocratic government. It is obvious, that conservative-oligarchic regime was afraid, first of all, the resolute and organized protest of the Belorussian working class and its independent trade unions. Just your strike and the working class protest in general allowed not only to stop open police brutality against Belarusian people, but also to resolutely raise an issue regarding the cancelation of the result of presidential elected, falsified by the regime.

We decisively support your present general democratic demands for resolute changes in Belarussian society, prosecution of those who fabricated the results of the election, and those of special police units, who extremely over-used their power.

It’s very important to remember the bitter experience of Ukraine, when just and fair uprising against Yanukovich regime in 2014 was used by openly anti-worker and anti-union forces. Just these forces are presently conducting the violent attacks against democratic rights of workers and trade union activists, increasing the retirement age and conducting the course of anti-people neoliberal reforms.

Unfortunately, working class and trade union activists in 2014 couldn’t become an efficient and significant factor of the democratic revolution in Ukraine. They were poorly organized and not enough prepared. This fact is being used by conservative ‘protectors’ of the autocratic regime, who try to convince workers to not support the struggle for democratic transformation in Belorussia, stop the strike and de-facto support autocratic-capitalistic Lukashenko regime.

We resolutely deny this calls for virtual collaboration with the regime. Only the consistent struggle for the democracy gives to workers a prospect to finally overcome autocracy and violence.  However, the working-class and labour unions of Belorussia should begin the development of their program of demands. This program would not allow future democratic and free Belorussia to fall onto the path of anti-worker neoliberal reforms and changes. Just neoliberal reforms and mass privatization will inevitably return the situation to renewal of dictatorship and police violence and will strength both reactionary revenge forces and those, who wish to establish in the Belorussia regime of external control, both pro-Western and pro-Russian. We believe that fight for true independence of working democratic Belarus is one of the most important issues of the current situation.

We, Ukrainian workers and trade union activists, don’t have a right to dictate our opinion for our Byelorussian brothers and sisters. Belorussian workers will elaborate workers and trade union program of struggle themselves.  However, we principally believe, that we have a right to give our proposals, which might become a base for the development of a current program for workers and trade unions and also for a list of demands of Belarusian workmen.  These proposals are the following:

  • Immediate cancelation of hostile to the workers and trade unions Belarussian Labour Code changes of 2019, which had established total dictate of employers in the country – temporary employment, unjustified terminations, the ban on voluntary resignation are the banes of Belarusian labourers.
  • Keep the workplace by all necessary means! Ban of fines by employers! Ban on bonus retention!
  • Immediate cancelation of government’s program of privatization of 2020. Review the conducted privatization of the number of leading Belarussian companies. Nationalization of such companies with following transition from government-backed bureaucratic administration to democratic governance by workers and employees!
  • Stop of proposed by Lukashenko’s government reform of retirement benefits! Immediate withdraw the increase of retirement age that has been established by law in 2020!
  • Prompt lift of all legal restrictions related to creation by Belorussian independent trade unions! Unrestricted freedom of the press for workers and trade union media!

There could be only one condition in the fight for fulfilment of your demand: workers of Belorussia need to and have to organize the stable and steady relationship with all of the Belarussian working collectives, with independent trade unions, with active members of communities and environmental activists.  Currently right-wing liberal forces are more organized, and they attempt to do everything to keep Belarusian workers out from becoming an autonomous political force, trying to keep them remaining at the outskirts of the neo-liberal politicians with their program of anti-people neo-liberal reforms. Therefore, it would be correct for independent Belarusian labour unions to discuss the issue of nomination of a candidate for the future presidential election. Such a candidate could become a gravity pull for all truly democratic and working forces in Belarus. Such action could be a real strategic alternative both the forces of anti-worker authoritarian revenge and numerous pro-Russian and pro-Western candidate, which are already turned to complete the dissolution of the independent democratic way to the future of free and people governed Belorussia.

Respected Belarusian brothers and sisters of labour and trade union struggle! Ukrainian working class stands with you! Please remember, that only in struggle we can win our rights! Presently your struggle is the most important point world-wide!  At this moment you are at the front line for true democracy and rights of the workers! Be vigilant, be resolute and thebest of luck!

Central committee of AUTU ‘Labour Defence ’

August 17, 2020.