Despite mass lay-offs, authorities control situation with labour movement
Bobruisk-based ‘Belshina’, a state-owned tyres maker, has started mass lay-offs in connection with the modernization and narrowing markets for Belarusian products. Despite workers’ discontent, there were no protests against such policies by the management. The Belarusian authorities manage to keep protest activity among workers under control – not only due to repressions, but also because of the labour migration. Workers in the regions often leave for Minsk or go abroad, mainly to Russia, to find better-paid jobs.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.