I hope everyone has made the most important New Year's wish.
I was once asked before New Year's Eve what my dream was. I was probably about 15 at the time. I started describing things like successful studies, a good job in the future, etc. A man with an obviously greater life experience told me that those were not dreams, but plans for tomorrow. A dream is always something big and unbelievable, and when you yourself can influence your life, it becomes a goal.
So, since we all know what we want for the New Year and we also know that it all depends on our persistence and patience, we can easily make some important goals for the first days of the New Year, so that we can take action all 365 days in order to reach our common goal.
1. Show the true power of workers
The years 2020 and 2021 proved that the labour movement in Belarus is just beginning its journey towards becoming one of the most dominant forces in the liberation of Belarus. Some things were going well, some things were not going as easily as everyone imagined. But there is one factor - the Lukashists are afraid of the workers. And as soon as the workers of all the enterprises believe that their strength lies in their unity, the situation in the country will change radically.
2. Creating strong and powerful trade unions
As the European experience has shown, the centralisation of workers' power becomes a strong democratic trade union. Which is primarily concerned with the situation of the workers at their workplace. Looking back at how pro-government unions allowed mass layoffs of employees and the so-called democratic unions pretended that nothing was going on, one thing is clear - Belarus needs a strong independent trade union to be the basis for collective and political negotiations. The latest example of successful negotiations was in Spain, where a union managed to insist on negotiations via a strike lasting two weeks, thereby forcing the authorities to back down and meet the interests of the Spanish metal workers.
3. Raising wages of Belarusians to maintain purchasing ability
Last year's inflation and dollar hikes had a very negative impact on the salaries of Belarusians. Wages decreased significantly, while the prices of some products and goods rose by 77%. The Belarusians started to lose purchasing ability.
Purchasing ability shows how much an average consumer can buy for a certain amount of money, given the current price level. And I think that almost every resident of the country has started noticing that he/she is either refusing from something or switching to cheaper variants of the product. Increased consumption should also have a positive impact on the economy of Belarus.
4. Increasing the country's health indicators
The past two years have shown how vulnerable the country's health system is. And if 2020 was simply a surprise and a usurper's idiocy in dealing with the pandemic, 2021 was sabotage against the country's population. Hundreds of health workers lost their jobs or were forced to leave the country. As workers are first and foremost citizens of Belarus, this factor cannot pass us by. The most important thing in life - our health - depends on a normal standard of living for medics, as well as on sufficient funding.
5. Occupational safety and health
Injury and fatality rates in the workplace continue to shock. In August alone there were industrial accidents resulting in fatalities almost twice a week. The negligence of the enterprises' under-management, as well as the indifferent attitude to safety standards, has taken the lives of many workers. Between January and August 2021 alone, 86 people died and 453 were seriously injured at production facilities. And even these statistics are probably greatly understated. There are situations, when a worker who has been injured is pressured by his superiors to go home, where he or she calls an ambulance, or goes to the emergency station by himself, inventing stories about how and where he or she was injured. There are hundreds and thousands of cases like this across the country.
6. Lukashenka's resignation
The previous 5 points have one thing in common - all troubles in the country are because of one man. It was because of him that many people lost their loved ones, many people have lost their jobs or work for pennies. The dictator is the main problem of the Belarusians and one of the thorns for the world community. With his resignation, a lot of institutions, which the Lukashists are trying to bury, will start working normally again. Fair elections will enable the citizens of Belarus to elect a worthy leader, who will put the country on the road to development. Moreover, with his leaving, the political prisoners and the real leaders, whom we were missing at the festive table, will be set free. The best people of the country.
We are all a hard-working nation, respected throughout the world. Belarusians are good and honest people who have become prisoners in their own country. We deserve to live better in peace and harmony with each other. I believe that these are very realistic goals, which we can achieve. I hope everyone made the most important wish and set the right goals for the coming year.
Happy New Year, Belarusians! Let there be a strike!
Artsiom Chernikau, specially for the Basta telegram channel