8 May 2021, Saturday, 16:58
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Henadz Fiadynich: Belarus May Be Expelled from the International Labor Organization

Henadz Fiadynich: Belarus May Be Expelled from the International Labor Organization
Henadz Fiadynich

This will be another blow to the Belarusian authorities.

Several years ago, the so-called complex "modernization" died down in Belarus. It left a noticeable mark, and some Belarusian "flagships" pay more than 100% of the proceeds on debts. Why is this happening and what it can lead to, as well as how strong is the procedure of immediate intervention of the International Labor Organization, which was launched against the Belarusian authorities? For the website Charter97.org, the leader of the REP trade union Henadz Fiadynich answers these questions:

- In my opinion, when a company takes loans, it provides for the production of more competitive products, as well as an increase in sales. The revenue depends on how stable a particular plant is. In this situation, we see that funds were pledged, but the expected, at least, has not yet been received. The enterprise gives back the proceeds, but it is not known how to develop further.

It turns out that the authorities have invested money in modernization, but the enterprises do not financially support themselves. How long it will take for them to start paying for themselves is another problematic issue.

In simple terms, if you have invested money, and the company is operating ineffectively and unprofitable, then this is a "finita la commedia."

- Recently, the German company Helm AG terminated cooperation with Hrodna Azot. Helm AG is the purchaser of 10% of the company's annual production. How strong is this blow to the enterprise?

- Firstly, it is the currency that every enterprise needs today, especially if it works for export. Secondly, it is a very difficult task for Belarusian enterprises to find a replacement for this 10%, and Hrodna Azot is no exception. In this situation, it is unlikely that it will be possible to easily and quickly resolve the issue of partner replacement. It's not just a matter of time, and a new partner may simply not be found.

- Can this be called a small victory for the strike committee of Hrodna Azot? Do you think we will see more companies shortly that refuse to sponsor the regime?

- I think that we will definitely see it in the future. We can assume that if the company terminated cooperation with Hrodna Azot, then it was motivated by something. Why did it do so? If this is due to the violation of workers' rights, human freedoms, then any foreign company signs the so-called "Code of Honor" which obliges to observe human rights and contact only with enterprises and structures that do not violate these rights. I would not say that this is a victory, but a good step towards victory.

- Deputy General Director of JSC Hrodna Azot - Director of the branch Khimvolokno Plant Vital Rudzinskas left his post. It was at the Khimvolokno Plant that the workers met with representatives of local authorities. What can you say about the position of the directorate and top managers of enterprises? How dissatisfied are they with the regime?

- Today it is very difficult for employers to work in the current economic conditions, with this tax system. Directors are not independent in their management because 90% of the shares of enterprises are owned by the state, which dictates its requirements. They are afraid to do or undertake something because there will be responsibility. Business is always a risk that is present in any enterprise, no matter whether it is public or private. There is no risk here.

Directors do not leave such enterprises voluntarily, therefore, most likely, they are offered or forced to do so. It is problematic to find today professional managers or directors who would work effectively in these conditions for Belarus.

- The International Labor Organization (ILO) has launched an immediate intervention procedure in connection with the amendments to the Labor Code adopted by the “house of representatives” in the first reading. Is this a serious procedure? What can you expect from her?

- The ILO is also a rather bureaucratic structure, they make such decisions quite rarely because the prompt intervention is necessary. How effective it will be is difficult to say. The ILO made 12 recommendations to the Belarusian government, only 4 have been implemented. Whether there will be effective intervention or the so-called Belarusian parliament will meet halfway to change this anti-popular legislation - time will tell. It is difficult to guess because our government can simply ignore everything.

- What pressure do such procedures put on the regime?

- If such things are not performed, then one thing remains - the exclusion of Belarus from the International Labor Organization. The organization rarely allowed itself such decisions, but I do not exclude that if our government ignores the procedure, this issue will be raised. The ILO is the first specialized agency of the United Nations, and these are contacts at the international level that can be terminated.