Babruysk: workers go on hunger strike, managers turn blind eye (video)


In Babruysk a group of workers at a tractor parts manufacturing plant is fighting for their rights in a radical way. The members of an independent trade union embarked a hunger strike three days ago: 12 persons are trying to stop persecution.

Babruysk tractor parts manufacturing plant is officially regarded as a prosperous modern company. But only a few outsiders know what is going on there.

HENADZ LABACHOU, worker:

‘Everyone realizes that salaries go down and sees there’s a mess at the plant. Defective parts are manufactured, nobody buys our products. Some change is needed.’

The Belarusian Free Trade Union has been trying to defend workers’ interests for several years. It includes dozens of persons. But the plant’s top managers keep pressurizing them.

English subs:

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According to the activists, they are systematically threatened with dismissal, deprived of award fees and overtime payments. Appeals to court gave no result. Mikhail Kavalkou, the trade union leader, are not allowed to enter the plant.

AKSANA KERNAZHYTSKAYA, hunger striker:

‘Our managers behave like gods and have their way with us. It is a well-known fact that the court decided that Mikhail was permitted to come to the plant.’

Demanding to stop persecution, the members of the trade union have been on a hunger strike for three days. 12 persons have already joined Mr Kavalkou, its starter and participant.

MIKHAIL KAVALKOU, trade union leader:

‘The main benefit is that nobody is forcet to join us. It is their own will. For example, yesterday three persons came and asked why we hadn’t told them about the action earlier.’

But the management team is unlikely to listen to the voice of workers. The message of the plant’s ideologist, was terse:

ULADZIMIR YELISEYENKA, ideologist:

‘There is no hunger-strike at ouw plant!’

Instead of seeking a peaceful solution, the top floor has started to call hunger-strikers on the carpet.

MIKHAIL KAVALKOU:

The plant’s Associate Director has ordered our lawyer and work safety manager to talk with these people and to find out whether these people are really on hunger strike.

In spite of the managers’ denial to start a dialogue, the participants are going to continue their protest action.

Yan Babitski, In Focus.

www.belsat.eu/en

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