No alarming ties between Lithuanian and Russian trade unions, committee chair says

Artūras Paulauskas
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“There may be no threats, although some risk factors do exist. Still, very close relations between our trade unions and Russia‘s main workers’ union, which is a political organization supported by the state, are somewhat astonishing. I don’t see a point in going to a non-democratic country in order to learn how to develop trade union activities,” Paulauskas told reporters on Wednesday after the committee was briefed by the State Security Department about possible Russian influence on public organizations in Lithuania.

He noted that Lithuanian trade organizations should not take advise from Russian unions which were “definitely not independent, governed and controlled” by the state.

Palauskas said that only three unions – namely, the Lithuanian Confederation of Trade Unions, the Lithuanian Trade Union Solidarity and the Labour Federation – were in contact with Russian trade unions.

The committee chairman emphasized that Lithuanian teachers’ unions did not maintain any tight contacts with Russian organizations.

During a recent strike of Lithuanian teachers, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said that Lithuanian teachers’ unions were influenced by Russia. He cited information he allegedly received from Lithuania’s special services. Later the PM said he did not mean education trade unions were taking orders from Moscow and apologized for his comments.

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