While the whole world is watching with bated breath the confrontation between the people and Lukashenka unfolding in Belarus, the heroes of the working class, workers of Belaruskali, who have declared a political strike since August 17, inspire the workers of Belarus to protest at their workplaces. Murals in Minsk are dedicated to them, people carry their portraits to protests on weekends; their names are in the news, in reposts of telegram chats and channels.
- Members of the strike committee in the Salihorsk central square.
Behind the names and deeds are people who are faced with a huge soulless repression machine every day. In this article, we’ll cover each of them. After all, no one was left unaffected.
Several days of grassroots democracy, rallies, meetings, the formation of a strike committee and the presentation of political demands by the workers of Belaruskali, was followed by a wave of repressions against the leaders of workers’ protests, and these repressions continue to this day.
- Uladzimir Lohinau and Dzmitry Kudzialevich
Under pressure from the internal affairs bodies (ed. – police, KGB, GUBOPiK – Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption), members of the strike committee Dzmitry Kudzialevich, Alesya and Uladzimir Lohinau were forced to leave the Republic of Belarus at the beginning of the strike.
Hleb Sandras, the strike committee press secretary, was forced to leave Belarus. Continues active work from abroad. Under pressure from the internal affairs bodies, he was forced to transfer part of the strike fund to charity. Regarding Hleb, the independent trade union received a notification from the employer that he would be fired “for absenteeism without sound reasons”.
Members of the strike committee Pavel Puchenya and Aliaksandr Novik were sentenced to 10 days of arrest for participating in unauthorized mass events. Also, the Independent Trade Union of Miners received a notification from Belaruskali that these workers would be dismissed “for absenteeism without sound reasons”.
All members of the strike committee, without exception, are threatened with criminal liability, dismissal, and recently, parents are threatened with deprivation of parental rights and removal of minor children from the family. Nina Tulaeva and Pavel Puchenya received such a threat.
Siarhei Shupilau lost his home due to his activities in the strike committee. He lived in the hostel “Belaruskali”.
- Piotr Pechkurou
Piotr Pechkurou and Dzianis Tarasevich served a 7-day sentence for participating in unauthorized mass events.
Siarhei Charkasau and Raman Liavonchyk spent 15 days behind bars for participating in unauthorized mass events. Raman’s brother, Mikalaj, also an employee of Belaruskali, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office, searched at home, and office equipment was seized.
Pavel Razumouski was beaten during his arrest, and because of his injuries, he could not serve the entire term of his sentence, 15 days, but was sent to a medical institution. This did not shorten Pavel’s sentence, but postponed his sentence.
Two members of the strike committee are now behind bars.
From September 30, Siarhei Kazelka is serving a term of 15 days for participating in unauthorized events on September 13, 20 and 27. At his trial, 5 employees of the internal affairs bodies acted as witnesses.
Anatol Bokun, co-chairperson of the Belaruskali strike committee, is currently serving a 25-day sentence “for disobeying police officers and participating in an unauthorized mass event”. It sounds very dry. And this is how Anatol received his punishment.
- Aleh Kudziolka
Anatol was in a group of twenty-two people who arrived at 4 Mine of “Belaruskali” to support Aleh Kudziolka, a mining foreman who joined the strike, who refused to leave the mine after a night shift in protest against the repression of the strike committee representatives. Soon after Aleh Kudziolka was forcibly taken to the surface and taken to a psycho-neurological dispensary for examination, the police detained his entire support group.
Only Anatol was punished for participating in a solidarity picket. By the way, with each new arrest, Anatol’s punishment increases. At first it was a fine. Then the administrative arrest. In total, since the beginning of the strike, Anatol has been deprived of 40 days of his freedom. Let us recall that from August 30 to September 16, he was already serving his sentence, and the conditions of detention in the cell were dangerous for his health: with serious problems that Anatol has with his lungs, he was forced to stand on the concrete floor without shoes. It was in the same cell with the former chairperson of the Belarusian Independent trade union Mikalaj Zimin. While he was serving his sentence, Belaruskali sent him a notice that he had been fired.
Yury Korzun, who joined the strike on September 10, when he refused to go to the surface and chained himself to mining equipment, believes that it was the workers (more than 6400 workers of Belaruskali) who declared the strike, signed the demands of the strike committee, and demanded an immediate end to violence against civilians are heroes. And the employer has no right to punish them, to deprive them of bonuses, to deprive them of jobs, to deprive them of social guarantees for this.
This is what is happening now in Belaruskali: more than 100 workers have been deprived of a 55% bonus for not fulfilling the production plans of the enterprise due to the fact that the workers work exclusively in compliance with labour protection and safety rules (author’s note – the so-called work to rule strike).
21 who joined the strike were fired.
Those workers who were absent from the workplace on August 19 and 20, when the strike was announced, were all punished. One worker has been fired, this is Uladzimir Tsimoshchanka. At least 43 workers were deprived of all bonuses for a period of a year, payments to the day of the miner, and a reduction in vacation by the number of days of absence.
More and more people join the strike every day.
This is what is behind the picture from Belarus. It’s not just weekend marches, flowers and white clothes. This is a loss of work, income, the threat of losing family, home and health for the sake of an idea.
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