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Solidarity for struggle in Ukraine

28 February, 2020On 25 February, the global union movement took solidarity action, supporting a global union federation mission to Kiev, as well as the Ukrainian unions struggling against draft labour and trade union laws in violation of core ILO conventions, national and European law.

During the #HandsOffUkraineUnions day of action, unionists across the world delivered protest letters to Ukrainian embassies, demanding that the President withdraw the draft labour law undermining workers’ rights and freedom of association. 

The action coincided with a high level ITUC-ETUC mission to Ukraine on 25-27 February. Together with the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU), the mission met with the minister of economy, Timothy Milovanov, the chair of the parliamentary committee on social policy, Galina Tretyakova, as well as the chair of the parliamentary committee on Ukraine’s integration to EU, the head EU’s delegation in Ukraine, the ILO national coordinator, the Ombudsman, and the federation of employers.

The EU and ILO delegations in Ukraine will issue detailed reports, specifying what provisions of the draft labour law is in contradiction to ILO conventions and European law.

According to ETUC general secretary Luca Visentini, the mission received clear commitments from both Milovanov and Tretyakova to reach an agreement with the unions. They were also told that the results of the tripartite working group will be taken into account to make sure the draft law in compliance with ILO conventions and the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement.

Mikhailo Volynets, KVPU chairman, says:

“Our task is not to win over our social partners, but to have a social dialogue and make our voices heard. Our goal is to defend Ukraine’s workers and to defend the mechanism that provides protection.”

The ongoing legislation reform is seen as a direct attack on union rights in Ukraine, aimed at destroying the trade union movement. The mission therefore asked the ILO to examine the draft law on trade unions as well.

On 28 February, IndustriALL, together with ITUC, PSI and IUF, met with two high level representatives from the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN in Geneva. The group delivered a letter to the President, expressing concerns and demands around the draft law.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary, Kemal Özkan, says:

“We urge the government to keep the promises made during global union mission. We will continue to provide solidarity support to the Ukrainian unions to make sure workers’ and trade union rights are respected in accordance with core ILO standards.”