Man complains of slave labor, gets fired as a result

Turkmen citizen Rustam Babakulyev has been living in Belarus for 17 years. His four children, citizens of Belarus, were born here. Since 2011, he worked as cattle breeder at “Charnyakhouski-Ahra”. In 2015, he complained to the Presidential Administration about the working conditions. He was later fired, but reinstated on appeal. He worked for 12 hours a day, without days-off and holidays. He worked double shifts with a salary for one. Once again he began to demand a fair pay from the company, but in vain. In the autumn, he complained to various authorities, went as far as the Presidential Administration.

“There was an inspection. It lasted about a week, I had never seen anything as thorough as that. But where were they before?” said Rustam.

The inspectors found both unpaid hours and unused vacation.

The company was obliged to pay for all the violations and the perpetrators were brought to justice. All the duties were laid out, and Rustam was sent to a ‘forced’ vacation. But during the holidays, he was asked to sign an additional agreement.

Rustam refused, as the additional duties could not guarantee the safety of the animals, for which he was responsible. As a result, he was fired. We went to the director, but arrived just in time for holiday: the 70th anniversary of the company. Director of the SEC “Charnyakhouski-Ahra” did not want to comment on camera, but said Rustam had too many demands.

Their lawyer also was camera shy, but he assured us that the dismissal procedure was held according to the legislation.

The official reason for dismissal is the refusal to sign an additional agreement. Rustam said that it was their was to avenge his complaint.

Rustam has not been able to find another job, since all nearby businesses only lay off staff.

Volha Czajczyc, Andrei Kozel, “Belsat”

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