20 January 2018, Saturday, 18:24

Hunger strike at Mozyr oil refinery: Day four


Leaders of a primary organisation of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU) at the Mozyr oil refinery have been on hunger strike for the fourth day.

Yury Shvets and his colleague Vasily Alkhouski haven't been at home for four days.

“We perform our duties at work from 8:00 till 18:00. After working hours we go to our car in the parking lot near the plant and spend the night there,” Yury Shvets tells Salidarnasts website. “Everyone can see us. The plant works 24 hours a day, people are constantly going in or out. Maybe someone thinks I have a pile of Snickers bars in the glovebox, but it's not true.”

The trade union activist says he already saw the first reaction to the hunger strike, but not from the plant management.

“It was reported yesterday that Belneftekhim postponed a meeting with representatives of the independent trade union from October 16 to October 18,” Yury Shvets says. “They are collecting all documents. They want to study them thoroughly to handle the situation. They offered to make a list of the people to go to a meeting in Minsk.”

“A female co-worker came to me 10 minutes ago and asked if she could begin a hunger strike to support us. I said my wife would be jealous, because I haven't been at home for four days,” Yury Shvets jokes.

The activists prefers not to speak about health.

“I feel okay. I still have physical resources to continue the hunger stroke, though co-workers say I should suspend it for the period when Belneftekhim deals with our problem. But it's hard to understand morally that the plant management treats employees in this way ans uses labour legislation in its interests to get rid of the people they don't want to see. We won't stop our hunger strike unless they hear us,” the activist said.

The leaders of the primary trade union organisation at the Mozyr refinery went on hunger strike depanding to stop illegal actions in relation to the BITU and its activists, invite qualified independent specialists to carry out an inquiry over five cases of firing employees and lift disciplinary sanctions from them.

Photo: Radio Svaboda