We are publishing an article by Frank Hoffer, an associate fellow of the Global Labour University, in which he reasons on the potential and possible actions of the organised labour movement in present-day events in Belarus.

The Ministry of foreign affairs and the Ministry of transport of the Russian Federation at the initiative of the Seafarers Union of Russia are preparing a joint Declaration on facilitating change of ship’s crews. This was announced by Deputy Minister of transport of the Russian Federation Yuri Tsvetkov during the round table «Systemic problems of sea and river transport through the prism of COVID-19».

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) is extremely shocked to learn of the final verdict passed by the Russian court where three Air Traffic Controllers were sentenced to 5, 5 and half and 6 years imprisonment (penal colony). Such prosecution and sentencing do nothing to improve aviation safety, well to the contrary, and the consequences of such brutal and unjust treatment cannot yet be assessed.

For almost 8 months, the Agdash  (flag of Malta) remained in the Egyptian port of El Adabiya. The shipowner, the well – known Palmali, stopped paying the crew, consisted of five Russians and nine Azerbaijanis, almost immediately after the beginning of the contracts. As a result, salary debts exceeded 400 000 dollars.

The Director-General of the International Labour Organisation, Guy Ryder, has called on the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, to prevent human rights violations and “ensure full respect for workers’ rights and freedoms" during the wave of protests that have swept the country in recent weeks.

On 24 August 2020 the Executive Committee of the Confederation of Labor of Russia made a statement of on the situation in the Republic of Belarus.

After the intervention of the International Labor Organization, the International Confederation of Trade Unions, appeals from trade unions from all over the world, including the Confederation of Labor of Russia, Nikolai Zimin was released from arrest.

On Saturday, 15 August, details of the detention of Nikolai Zimin became known. He is the former chairman of the Belarusian Independent Trade Union (BITU). Nikolai was detained in the remand center of the city of Lyuban, Minsk region. It is reported that Zimin was severely beaten. He can not get around practically. There was not provided with medical assistance for him. In addition, the former head of the BITU has a number of diseases and needs to take medications.

The Third mate, who had previously applied to The Seafarers Union of Russia (SUR) with request for assistance in repatriation, finally returned home. The seafarer spent a little less than a year on the ship from August 29, 2019, and also in the last few months he suffered from health problems, first of all, toothache. At the same time, he could not get qualified medical assistance as due to restrictions in the ports of call visiting medical centers was actually prohibited. In return, only a doctor’s consultation on board was offered, which in this case could not help much. All this time he could survive only by using painkillers. 

The Russian Air Traffic Controllers' Trade Union said in a statement that "the sentence should be thrown out and our comrades acquitted and released. That's what truth and justice requires." Earlier in an open letter to the transport ministry, the trade union said the air traffic controllers were simply "in the wrong place at the wrong time."

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