Eric Lee writes:A few days ago we learned that the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights for 2021 was awarded to the independent trade union movement in Belarus, represented by the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates. According to the prize committee, "They receive the award for their fearless struggle for democracy and fundamental trade union rights in Europe's last dictatorship." (More details here.)
Their struggle - and that of the trade union movements in Hong Kong, Myanmar, Iran and Turkey - is the focus of this year's LabourStart May Day event, which we're holding on Sunday, 2 May at 15:00 GMT.
We have an incredible lineup of speakers:
- Monireh Abdi, the wife of jailed Iranian teacher trade unionist Esmail Abdi, who has been the focus of a number of our campaigns over the years.
- Lizaveta Merliak, international secretary of the Belarusian independent unions, who was herself arrested during the recent months of protest following the rigged Presidential elections in her country that kept Alexander Lukashenko in power.
- Khaing Zar Aung, the president of Industrial Workers Federation of Myanmar (IWFM) and a member of the executive committee of the Confederation of Trade Unions Mynamar (CTUM) -- who will be speaking on behalf of a trade union movement and indeed an entire nation facing severe repression at the hands of the military dictatorship.
- Ömer Ongun is a diversity, equity and inclusion consultant and performing artist now living in Canada who will also speak. His partner, Cihan Erdal, a sociologist, peace and LGBTI+ activist and a member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is currently imprisoned in Turkey. Following his arrest last September, CUPE has campaigned for his release.
- And finally, we’ll have Cheung-fung FAN from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions whose leader, Lee Cheuk-yan, has been subjected to ruthless persecution by the state.
Can you please encourage other members of your union to sign up to participate in this event?
The signup form is here: https://www.labourstart.org/go/1may2021.
And finally, we've designed a logo for the event (see top of page) and I encourage you to do as I've done and change your image on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to this image -- until our event on May 2.
You will help to raise awareness throughout the international trade union movement if you publicly identify with the struggle to free jailed trade unionists in Belarus, Hong Kong, Iran, Myanmar, Turkey and elsewhere.