Report of Chairman of Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Yuri Senko

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  • 5:32

The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB) should promptly respond to questions and needs of workers. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he heard out a report from Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus Yuri Senko.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I did not invite you and did not meet with you in this period of time after election [to the position of the FTUB chairman] for a reason. I wanted you to get up to speed. Before we could meet, I wanted you to get to know all the minor details and processes going on in our trade unions. There is no need to remind anyone that it is a huge ‘political party’ in a manner of speaking. An overwhelming majority of these people are statesmanlike and patriotic. But there are quite many complaints about trade unions both inside the trade union organization and on the part of the population. They are criticized for doing too little, for having too much red tape, for failing to provide aid and support and the rest. It is natural since this organization is huge. It will always be like that. But it is necessary to aim for the better. It is necessary to reduce this bureaucracy and the rest. Because this is a people’s ‘party’, people’s trade unions.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered about the state of affairs in trade unions since Yuri Senko had been offered an opportunity to take a fresh look at things. He wondered about future plans and suggested actions meant to normalize the situation in several areas. “Do you have any questions for me? Do I need to get involved in some processes in order to provide aid and support to the trade union movement?” the Belarusian leader wondered.

Yuri Senko reported that the national trade union center had matured as an association and now includes 15 industry-specific trade unions. “Universal approaches are needed in order to reach every worker as much as possible and identify their problems. And we can identify them. Because as many as 24,000 basic trade union organizations have been created in the country. It is a big army,” he said.

Enterprises and organizations have signed about 18,000 collective bargain agreements, which offer a lot of advantages and stimuli to employees even on top of what the legislation requires.

While talking to reporters after the meeting, Yuri Senko remarked that quite a unique practice had evolved in Belarus when the government, trade unions, and employers can sit at one table and address problems if there are any. “And they are addressed properly because they understand that these problems worry people. Today we unite virtually 4 million trade union members,” the FTUB chairman said.

The Federation of Trade Unions also offers health improvement and sanatorium and resort therapy. Yuri Senko had informed the President about this matter as well. “At present there are 12 trade union sanatoriums in the country that can welcome 4,500 workers at a time. There are also six hotels, six tourist camps, and 68 sport schools,” the official told reporters.

The main tasks the trade unions need to carry out today include continuation of the work with trade union cells, with labor collectives, timely examination of problems and the development of proposals to resolve them. “We will continue working both inside the country and on international platforms. The head of state also gave instructions to continue working with the International Labor Organization for the sake of protecting rights of our workers in the international arena,” Yuri Senko said.