Discrimination and Security of Employment in a Post-Soviet Context
International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 5-17, January 2006
13 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2006 Last revised: 24 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 29, 2010
This paper analyses the problems of equal treatment and discrimination in Belarus in the legal, historical and political context. While the main labour laws in Belarus concerning equal treatment appear to comply with its international obligations, in the absence of an independent judiciary and basic civil liberties, law enforcement remains a problem. The author argues that the Soviet legacy of industrial relations and the legal nihilism of that era have been taken by Belarusian authorities as a model for their policies: most unions are not independent but are controlled by the government and there is widespread discrimination against opposition activists and independent trade-union leaders. A key part of this picture is the transfer of employees to fixed-term contracts, very often concluded for one-year periods: as a result, workers are deprived of the most important legal guarantees relating to the termination of employment and non-discrimination. In his concluding remarks, the author underlines the close relationship between security of employment and discrimination in the workplace in Belarus.
Keywords: equal treatment, discrimination, industrial relations, fixed-term contracts, trade unions, Belarus, Soviet Union, labor law
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