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23 September, 2022The situation for nuclear workers in Ukraine is worsening with Russian soldiers having occupied the nuclear plants. IndustriALL’s International Nuclear Workers’ Union Network (INWUN) met online on 20 September to discuss how to support the war-stricken Ukrainian workers.
Over 40 participants engaged in the meeting, including nuclear unions from Japan, France, Argentina, Spain, Turkey, and Ukraine. Experts from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation were also present.
Valery Matov, IndustriALL vice co-chair for the nuclear sector and president of Atomprofspilka, Ukraine, painted a grim picture of how nuclear power workers are suffering.
“More than 200 workers have been kidnapped and many have been tortured to death. Russian soldiers have occupied nuclear plants and workers are under the permanent physical and psychological pressure. Zhaporiya nuclear power plant had over 11,000 employees and now has less than 10,000 workers. We appeal to you to condemn the nuclear takeover and demand the withdrawal of Russian troops from Enerhodar City. We ask that you write to your governments asking for assistance in the removal of the troops.”
Representatives from the ILO spoke about the concerns over the mental and physical impact the violations have on workers, in addition to concerns about potential exposure to radiation.
“It is key to discuss how we will enforce labour conventions with the help of IndustriALL and we need to have discussions with workers on what their needs are,”
said Sergiy Savchuk from the ILO.
“We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian workers. It is imperative that we prevent a nuclear disaster and we must defend workers at the power plants in terms of health and safety, especially the long working hours,”
said Owen Tudor from ITUC.
Affiliates showed their strong concern and solidarity with the workers and their families in Ukraine, and were open to supporting the Ukrainian union through different proposals with their governments and companies in the nuclear sector of their countries.
“We stand in solidarity with our Ukrainian comrades and we will continue working with the ILO and other agencies to put pressure on the international community to secure peace and fundamental rights for Ukrainian workers and people,”
said IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie.