Belarus: Nationwide tragedy against the background of speachless silence of the regime

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The BKDP Council made a statement in connection with deaths of workers, who perished in a blast occurred at “Pinskdrev” Furniture Company on October 25. The nationwide tragedy has happened but the regime is keeping speechless silence.
 
"We do not believe this tragedy is a coincidence. Keeping permanent monitoring of safety in the production facilities and at workplaces today we have all grounds to state – Belarus is on the threshold of industrial disaster "- was said in a statement. The BKDP expresses condolences to the families and close relatives of victims.

STATEMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF BELARUSIAN CONGRESS OF DEMOCRATIC TRADE UNIONS

On October 25 of the current year the explosion has occurred at “Furniture “Pinskdrev” Holding Company”. It has caused deaths of 14 people. The sad list may be extended as dozens of people with severe burns and injuries are still kept in the hospitals of Minsk, Brest and Pinsk.

The death of even one person at workplace is an extraordinary event. The death of fourteen people is a nationwide tragedy. Any power which is politically and socially responsible normally reacts to such tragedy in a quick and operational manner. It reacts administratively identifying the causes of blatant violations of safety rules; it reacts politically going immediately to a venue of tragedy and declaring mourning. Finally, it reacts in a human way expressing a clear in this case sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families and providing them with material assistance proportional to the suffered losses.
Belarus has failed to organize anything of the kind. The whole week the officials were busy doing anything but not that what was expected from them. The regime leader was sending various greetings and congratulations on the occasion of different jubilees, was inspecting various regions, and irony of it is that it he was opening sporting complexes in Brest, quite close to the venue of the tragedy. But it was not enough time for him to share his concern and sympathy with the residents.
 
We do not believe this tragedy is a coincidence. Keeping permanent monitoring of safety in the production facilities and at workplaces today we have all grounds to state – Belarus is on the threshold of industrial disaster ". The level of depreciation of fixed assets and equipment in many enterprises has reached a critical point.

It is bad that production facilities are not upgraded. But the worst thing is that many company managers, gripped by the administrative and command system, are forced to neglect basic safety conditions at work. We can today see the result of it at Closed “Share Holding “Pinskdrev” Furniture Company. One can only guess who the next will be in that tragic queue.

The Belarus regime was consistent in its way to Pinsk tragedy. It could have avoided it, if the fate of a worker and his life has been of the first and true priority but has not been only declared. It could have saved the lives of fourteen people if the regime has not imposed its control over the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FPB) and has not turned it into a pocket union. The FPB’s silence today is a killing verdict, which union bosses have chosen for themselves, for betraying the interests and rights of workers including the right of workers for life and for healthy and safe working conditions.

Terrible price the Belarusian workers now have to pay in order to realize that they have no other choice. Either to remain hostages being built-in the system of political, social and labor relations, which has prepared for them the fate of slaves, uncomplaining masses, disposable human material, or to join together to defend their rights, including the right for safe and healthy working conditions.

On behalf of nearly 10,000 members of independent trade unions of the country we express our sincere condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the victims. We call upon all Belarusian workers, all workers of the country: Join us, establish and join independent trade unions! While it is not too late, yet in some other corner of Belarus the blasts will occur again, taking away lives of our loved ones, Let us unite! In unity is our strength!


November 1, 2010

Minsk

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