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Action in support of "Heroes of the struggle for an independent trade union movement in Belarus"

The Polish trade union NSZZ "Solidarność" started a trade union action in support of imprisoned trade unionists from Belarus, demanding their release.

Action in support of "Heroes of the struggle for an independent trade union movement in Belarus"
Action in support of "Heroes of the struggle for an independent trade union movement in Belarus". Photo:

At the initiative of the Foreign Ministry's National Commission NSZZ "Solidarność" an action to send postcards to the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Poland has been launched. For this purpose, postcards were made with images of leaders and activists of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP), who are now convicted by a Belarusian court and serving prison sentences in colonies.

- Let's not forget that a trade unionist in prison is also just a man in prison. Sentenced away from family, friends and loved ones. Condemned to fear, condemned to a situation that directly threatens his health and safety.

That's why we want to start by showing you the "virtual faces" of the heroes of our postcards - the Heroes of the Struggle for an Independent Trade Union Movement in Belarus," say the organisers of the action.

Grafika: P. Machnica

These postcards protesting against the violation of basic trade union and human rights in Belarus can be sent by any Solidarity member. One of the first to do so was the chairman of the Polish trade union, Piotr Duda. In it he demanded, from the Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Poland, the release of the trade union activists:

"Dear Mr Ambassador!

Unionists are not terrorists, and the right to a lawful strike to protect labour and civil rights is not subversive. These are basic human rights for which the NSZZ "Solidarność" fought.

We demand the release of Belarusian trade union leaders, an end to repression and respect for the right to trade union activity!".

Piotr Duda. Photo: M. Lewandowski

Other leaders of Solidarność's trade union structures have already supported the campaign.

For example, Piotr Olbryś, chairman of the NSZZ Solidarność Inter-Entrepreneurial Organisation in Volkswagen Poznań; Alicja Skowron and Krzysztof Adamek and NSZZ Solidarność Roca Polska and Henryk Grymel, chairman of the transport secretariat.

The Polish trade union hopes that the action will be supported by other Solidarity organisations. Because this stage is similar to what Poland went through 40 years ago, when the totalitarian regime viewed independent trade unions as a threat.

It should be recalled that until August 2020, pressure on trade unionists was limited to dismissal or administrative arrests. At the beginning of 2021, with the growth of terror in Belarus, the pressure on trade unions intensified significantly. Trade unionists began to discover wiretaps and hidden video cameras in their offices. Trade union headquarters were searched under any pretext. Equipment was confiscated and office furniture destroyed.

It is 2023 now, and the number of political prisoners in Belarus is growing, with more than 1,440 today. Among them are more than 30 trade union activists who are imprisoned and serving long sentences in Belarusian prisons and labour camps.


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