Belarusian unions demand reinstatement of miner sacked for organising workers

Morning Star | May 26, 2020

TRADE unionists in Belarus have launched a campaign demanding the reinstatement of a miner sacked for raising health and safety concerns at a Canadian-owned mine.

Mikalaj Valadzko was suspended from his job at a shaft-sinking project after he started a trade union to defend workers’ rights.

He worked at a mine owned by Canadian company Redpath Mining, with the work being carried out by its German subsidiary Redpath Deilmann.

Since May 2019 miners have been seeking a labour safety inspectorate certificate, which would give underground workers the right to additional benefits and guarantees.

Workers organised and formed a union supported by the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (Bitu).

But the company hit back by targeting workers and refused to renew Mr Valadzko’s contract.

Bitu and IndustriAll have launched a joint campaign for the reinstatement of the highly qualified specialist, who remains without work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The unions have also called for all safety measures to be implemented as required by Belarusian legislation for the certification of all Redpath Deilmann workplaces.

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