FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS OF BELARUS TODAY
Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus is the national trade union center, a republican voluntary independent association of trade unions, their associations and associated members, created for coordination of the activities of the member organizations, implementation and protection of legal rights and interests of the members of trade unions comprising the FTUB.
The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus is the largest association of workers of Belarus, the number of its members amounts to 94.8% of the total of working population of the country.
On January 1, 2010, structure of the FTUB comprised 28 branch unions, 6 regional trade unions and the Minsk City Association of Trade Unions, 93 regional committees (councils), 508 municipal and district trade union organizations, 21 185 trade union committees. The FTUB affiliates more than 4 million union members.
Labor relations of 96,4 % of workers of enterprises, organizations and other institutions are regulated by means of collective agreements.
Main goals of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus are coordination of the activities of trade unions aimed at protection of labor, social and economical rights of trade unions’ members, organizations affiliated with the FTUB, promotion of solidarity and unity within the trade union movement of Belarus, as well as improvement and development of the social partnership system.
The major field of the FTUB’s activities is protection of constitutional and labor rights of trade unions’ members. The FTUB is the initiator and one of the active developers of various legal statutory acts, which constitute the legal basis for the protection of workers as well as the basis for trade unions’ activities. The FTUB participates in the development and realization of republican and regional employment programs, projects related to the treatment of workers and members of their families, and other social programs.
The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus carries out public control over labour protection and execution of the labour legislation; represents trade unions’ organisations in arbitration and judicial bodies in the process of settling labour disputes; provides informational, organisational and legal support to its affiliated organisations and their members.
One of the key spheres of the FTUB activities aimed at the protection of rights and social and economic interests of workers is social partnership.
An important stage on the way of practical realization of the system of social partnership is the activities of the National Council on Labor and Social Issues, which renewed its operation in 2002 at the demand of the FTUB.
Representatives of the FTUB, member organizations and their bodies directly participate in the work of collective bodies of ministries, departments, regional and district executive committees, enterprise boards, which gives an opportunity to deal efficiently and skillfully with urgent matters related to the protection of social, economic and labor rights of workers.
The basis of regulation of labor relationships at all levels of social partnership is formed by the two-year General Agreement, 52 branch rate agreements and 17 408 collective agreements (on the 1st of January, 2010). It applies to 3,8 million members of the FTUB (96,4%).
In different regions, cities and districts, as well as in different branches of industry, there are territorial and branch councils on social and labor matters. Their authority and influence on the actual social and economic processes are increasing.
LEGAL ACTIVITIES OF FTUB
The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus has taken a number of steps to intensify legal activities of trade unions, to increase the efficiency of public control in the sphere of social and employment relations.
The practical realization of remedial function of trade unions by means of performing public control over execution of the labor legislation of Belarus is ensured by legal services created in union bodies, which are represented by legal and technical labor inspections and legal advisory boards.
In 2003 the FTUB established a centralized legal advice service available to all members of any trade unions. Its primary task is to render free and competent legal assistance to trade unions’ members, whose social, economic or labor rights have been infringed.
CONTROL OVER EXECUTION OF LABOUR LEGISLATION
The rights and possibilities of trade unions in the sphere of public control over the execution of labor legislation have been greatly expanded. The FTUB has technical labor inspections all over the country. Technical labor inspectors have the right to issue binding notices to the employers. Public labor safety inspectors also perform public control over implementation of labor safety.
One of the major fields of work of trade union bodies at any level is training trade union staff and activists. The FTUB organized the process of training and vocational training of trade unions’ staff and activists, including training on the basis of the FTUB’s educational establishment – International Institute of Labour and Social Relationships, which comprise relevant specialised centre for trade unions’ staff training.
The solution of the problems related to organisation of leisure of workers and members of their families, development of moral and spiritual culture of workers, assertion of a healthy lifestyle are also amongst priorities of the FTUB. The FTUB intensified its work in this direction greatly, an example of which is charitable action “Trade Unions to Children” set and carried out by the FTUB for several years, within the framework of which its trade union committees took under their patronage more than 200 children’s homes, boarding schools and orphanages.
The FTUB on the regular basis provides addressed financial support to veterans, pensioners and low-income workers and their families.
During the past year the activities of trade union organisations in the sphere of sport was also intensified largely, which can be exemplified by the annual inter-branch sports competitions and other large-scale sports events.
In 2003 the Sports Club of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus was established. On April, 1, 2010, there are 144 sports schools within the structure of the Sports Club of the FTUB, which amounts to 33,5 % of the total amount of sports schools in Belarus. 53 trainees of sports schools were included into the national Olympic team of the Republic of Belarus and participated in the Olympic games in Beijing (2008). 9 of them came back to Belarus with Olympic medals. In June 2005 the trade union team of the FTUB took part in the World Workers’ Sports Games “For Peace and Solidarity” in Bulgaria and won the second prize.
The FTUB contributes greatly to the development of Belarusian culture. In 2003 the Trade Union Palace of Culture, which is an architectural monument, was restored. The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus contributes extensively to the children’s creative work, providing a stage for young talented individuals and promoting them.
It is also worth mentioning that the FTUB is intensifying its work in the sphere of treatment of workers. Every year more than 100 thousand people rest and take treatment at health centers, rest homes and sanatoria of trade unions. Special attention is given to the sanatorium-and-resort treatment of children.
100TH ANNIVERSARY OF BELARUSIAN TRADE UNIONS
In 2004 the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus had celebrated the 100th anniversary of the trade union movement of Belarus. It was a milestone in the history of workers’ movement for the protection of their social and economic rights and interests. It was a time for summing up the results of the centennial struggle of trade unions for social and economical rights and interests of every union member, every worker.