Good mood of May holiday
Belarusians celebrate labour holiday with May Day meetings, work on household plots, fountains opening
By Vladimir Khromov
Over 30,000 people took part in this year’s Minsk’s May 1st celebrations, including Federation of Trade Unions heads and representatives from the Ministry for Labour and Social Protection. They were joined by National Assembly deputies and members of the Republican Association of Industrial Enterprises, as well as representatives from veteran organisations, the sporting community and students. Various labour group members and representatives of organisations and enterprises also attended, alongside ambassadors from China, Venezuela, Vietnam and Cuba.
“We don’t want to see automobiles burnt in the streets of Belarusian cities, as happened in Paris. Moreover, we’re against mass strikes, as in Spain. We also oppose the banking sphere crisis, as observed in Cyprus,” noted Leonid Kozik, the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, speaking at a meeting honouring May 1st. He added that 2012 had seen great achievements for workers across the Republic, with real incomes rising 21 percent and working conditions improving. In addition, the number of working places has increased. These and other achievements speak for themselves.
According to the Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, over the last 18 years, Belarus has produced impressive results. “Due to work achieved in the agro-industrial complex, the Republic has transformed from an agrarian country into the largest exporter of agricultural produce,” he asserted. He stressed that, in his State of the Nation Address to the Belarusian People and the National Assembly, the President of Belarus had named production modernisation as a priority area. “This is very promising and trade union workers are doing everything possible to help manufacturers achieve higher figures,” added Mr. Kozik.
Despite the goal of an eight hour day having been long since met, set at a May 1st meeting 140 years ago, trade unions still have much to fight for. “We are working hard to ensure that employment remains buoyant in the Republic. Moreover, we are struggling to see trade unions operating at every enterprise, performing their major function of observing workers’ rights,” continued Mr. Kozik. He believes that trade union organisations now need to focus on salary levels, to ensure a certain standard of living, allowing people to raise families, buy cars and enjoy leisure time. “To preserve salary levels, we’ve refused to pass a particular draft law proposed by the Social Insurance Fund for three years now, which intends to raise deductions from salaries from 1 to 15 percent,” noted Mr. Kozik. “Moreover, this year, we’ve tasked heads of enterprises with improving facilities at production facilities.”
City fountains are now operational and residents of Gomel’s Novobelitsky District have received a wonderful gift: another fountain — in the form of a 14 x 5m bowl, equipped with cascades, placed in a public garden, near Mir cinema.
As is traditional on May 1st, student brigades began their third working semester.