Jump to main content
IndustriALL logotype

Unions oppose regressive labour law reform in Ukraine

21 September, 2021Ukrainian unions are planning a protest action on 7 October, World Day for Decent Work, against the current labour law reform, which risks undermining workers’ and trade union rights.

Among the proposed draft laws is draft law № 5371, which excludes workers of small and medium-sized companies from legal protection by setting a new "contractual regime for regulating labour relations", where all working conditions are determined by an employment contract instead of by labour law.

Dismissals would be at the employer’s discretion, as the employment contract would determine the grounds for dismissal instead of the current strict list of grounds provided by the labour code.

Another draft law, №5388, would allow for an almost unlimited use of short-term employment contracts; determine additional grounds for dismissals; deprive single mothers, people with disabilities, young workers and specialists retired after military service of their current guarantees; and deprive workers of guarantees for overtime.

“Union proposals have not been included and the draft laws undermine the balance of rights and interests between employers and trade unions. In addition, a number of the current provisions could lead to violation of human rights and elimination of core labour rights,”

says Lesia Semeniaka, IndustriALL Executive Committee member and international secretary of the Nuclear Power and Industry Workers Union of Ukraine (Atomprofspilka).

Both draft laws infringe on trade union rights by limiting the scope of union coordination, and are in violation of the national constitution and international core labour standards, including ILO conventions and EU directives.

“Under the cover of adapting labour and social legislation to modern realities and creating improved conditions for investors, Ukrainian authorities continue their attack on workers’ and trade union rights,”

said Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU) chairman Mikhailo Volynets  addressing IndustriALL’s 3rd Congress.

Last year, the draft labour law №2708 was defeated thanks to mass union protests in Ukraine and global solidarity action and subsequently abandoned following the resignation of the government. However, legislators have instead drafted separate laws, which they are now trying to push through Parliament.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan, says:

“Ukraine must abandon the anti-worker law reform and act in accordance with international labour conventions, ratified by Ukraine, and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. We urge Ukrainian legislators to seek ILO technical expert advice and support in amending the current legislation, in cooperation with social partners, to ensure full compliance with international core labour standards and norms.”