The Congress, the Union's highest decision-making forum, which brings together 260 representatives elected by members to decide the Union's future course, will be held Oct. 9-13, 2023, in Karlstad, Sweden.
Salidarnast is represented among the international guests. During the opening ceremony the name of our country – Belarus - was mentioned in the speeches of the Swedish and international speakers. It was the first time in the history of this largest Swedish trade union, which unites 700 thousand members, that a resolution on an international issue was adopted. What made the Swedish trade unionists take the Belarusian cause to heart? As their president Martin Linder pointed out in his address to the congress, their community is much larger than their own union. And that larger community includes all wage earners in Sweden, as well as sisters and brothers in Belarus.
The sensational case that shook the Swedish public and media recently was the denial of asylum to a Belarusian trade union organizer and leader of the Free trade union of Metal Workers Ala Tsvirko. Ala was able to attend the congress and address the delegates.
The congress voted to adopt a declaration supporting free and independent trade unions as they contribute to a stronger democracy, called for the immediate release of political prisoners imprisoned for their trade union activities, the lifting of the criminalization of free trade unions and the holding of free elections in the country.
With this statement, Unionen stand united with the International Trade Union Confederation in calling for the immediate release of all Belarusian trade union leaders and representatives, an end to intimidation and harassment, and the removal of all obstacles to free and independent trade unions.
The Congress called on the Swedish authorities to respect the clear demand of the International Labour Conference resolution that trade unionists and human rights activists threatened with persecution for their trade union work should not be sent back to Belarus.
There was a solidarity action by Congress delegates during a session on Belarus.
With these actions, the Swedish trade union showed its recognition and support for the work of Salidarnast and encouraged other trade unions to do the same.