Market vendors in Pinsk set to continue strike over new VAT rules 15:48, 04/02/2005
Market vendors in Pinsk, Brest region, on Thursday continued their strike for the third day running to protest new taxation rules that require them to pay an 18-percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on goods imported from Russia. The strike has brought trading at the city`s markets to a standstill.
According to Sergei Kostyukovich, chairman of a local cell of the Belarusian Free Trade Union, the strikers want the authorities to abolish VAT for individual entrepreneurs who pay the so-called single tax (fixed amount irrespective of the proceeds). The vendors are confident that the tax collection would lead to the rise in the retail price of Russian-made goods.
Apart from this, the strikers demand to streamline the procedure of registering goods with health authorities and withdraw the requirement that individual entrepreneurs should make mandatory social security contributions.
The market vendors gather at the central market of Pinsk every day to discuss the current situation.
They are set to stay out at least until February 10, the date set for a nationwide strike, Mr. Kostyukovich said.
Many of the strikers (some 1,000 people according to the trade union leader) have refused to pay the single tax. The motto of strike is, “We do not want to raise prices.”