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14 August 2020, 11:53

Lukashenko comments on calls to go on strike

MINSK, 14 August (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has commented on the attempts to foment tensions among workers in Belarus and warned that strikes can have a devastating impact on domestic companies in the future. Aleksandr Lukashenko made this statement as he hosted a session to discuss the construction industry on 14 August, BelTA has learned.

“First of all I would like to say that I am still alive and not abroad, contrary to what our nationalists say. Today is 14 August and we are here to discuss the work of the construction industry,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that there are attempts to stir up tensions among workers. “You know and feel it very well. Of course, workers are the backbone of our country. You have known my position on it. During the pandemic I virtually banned layoffs; I did not allow throwing people into the street. It was hard, but it is still difficult. Construction industry workers are doing a great job; the situation in this sector is better; all of them are busy. However, nevertheless, there are attempts to inflame workers. Our position is clear: we were not trying to coerce anyone to do anything during the difficult pandemic period. We should not hold anyone in this situation, either. If people want to work, let them do it. Here is work, go ahead and start working. If a person does not want to work, we cannot make them do it,” the president said.

The head of state illustrated possible consequences of strikes using specific examples. If Belaruskali suspends operations for several days, this will play into the hands of their major competitors from Russia and Canada. “If they go on strike for two days, their competitors – Russians and Canadians – will give thanks to God and promptly supply to the market what they want to supply,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The same will happen with machinery producers, like MTZ and MAZ. “It is up to you. If you do not make 10 tractors today and if you do not supply them to the market, tomorrow Germans and Americans will come. Russians will also bring their machinery. They will also give thanks to God,” the president noted.

He emphasized that the global economy has just started to recover after the pandemic-related restrictions. “Everyone is fighting for these markets. If we stop, we will never be able to promote our manufacturing industry. Never! We will be pushed into this mire. People should come to understand it: if you want to go on strike - do it, if you want to work – go ahead,” the president said.

“They told me that at MAZ or MTZ around 20 people decided to speak their mind, stopped working and left. Their supervisor told them: okay, guys, you can go, I have enough people here, your salary will go to them. After that, these people returned back to work,” the head of state said.

“You should explain to people that this is the only chance to save their companies. If you save your company, you will be able to provide for your family. You can take a walk in the street. There are thousands of people lining roads. You can join them for a walk. However, the money they will give you there, if any, will last for two days. We know them; we have showed them. The money will be enough for two days. What will be next?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.

“This should be explained to people, including to the construction industry empolyees, because construction workers are advanced and active people. However, we should explain to them what will come next. Our construction industry has gone through many challenges. We pulled them from the mire several times. They got orders, work, growth. Go ahead and work,” the president added.

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