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Nuclear workers protest in Ukraine

19 April, 201812,000 members of IndustriALL affiliate Nuclear Power and Industry Workers Union of Ukraine (Atomprofspilka) protested in eight different cities on 12 April to protest a state policy of low energy tariffs, which result in low pay for workers.

The National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission has set the tariff for state-owned enterprises that generate electricity at US$0,02 per kilowatt. The tariff for private thermal power plants is 3,5 times higher at US$0,07 per kilowatt.

The state enterprise Energorynok does not pay for all electricity provided by Energoatom. Payments of US$45,9 million are missing for 2017, and the general arrears for the electricity output is US$482 million. The lack of payment affects wage levels, leading to a loss of qualified staff. 

At a press conference on the critical situation in Ukraine’s nuclear industry, Valery Matov, president of Atomprofspilka, said:

“Ukraine’s nuclear industry is key, not only for energy, but also for the economy. The main cause for concern is the discriminatory tariff policy towards state-owned enterprises, in particular Energoatom”.

According to the chair of the union at Energoatom, Alexey Lich, the required number of licensed personnel for operating nuclear facilities is clearly defined. A lack of personnel will lead to closure of these facilities.

Atomprofspilka is demanding:

  • Financial support to nuclear enterprises;
  • That the debt to Energoatom is paid and a special state programme is put in place;
  • That the National Regulator adopts a sufficient electricity tariff;
  • Better pay according to European social standards in the nuclear sector.

If demands are not met within a month, workers will organize a rally in Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches says:

 “We hope that the government will immediately address the workers’ demands. We stand firm in solidarity with Atomprofspilka, and are ready to provide further support at the global level.”