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Meeting of the Ukrainian national tripartite social and economic council

28 February 2017: On February 24, important and sensitive issues of social and economic development, enhancing protection of legitimate rights and interests of working people were discussed at the meeting of the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council in which the Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groisman took part and spoke. The meeting was chaired by the President of the National Council, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Rozenko.

The First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine Grygorii Osovyi, Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Association of Organisations of Employers of Ukraine Anatolii Kinakh, Deputy Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Dmytro Oliinyk, other ministers and directors of departments, representatives of government, employers and trade unions also attended the event and spoke.

The agenda included two urgent issues:

1. Outcomes of Social and Economic Development of Ukraine in 2016 and Tasks for 2017 in the Context of the Medium Term Plan of Priority Actions of the Government by 2020.

Speaker of the Government Party:
Volodymyr Groisman, Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Co-speakers of the Employers’ Party:
Anatolii Kinakh Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Association of Organisations of Employers of Ukraine,
Dmytro Oliinyk, Deputy Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine.

Co-speakers of the Trade Unions’ Party:
Grygorii Osovyi, Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine,
Mykhailo Volynets, member of the National Council, President of Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine.

2. Transparency in t pricing of gas tariffs for hot water, heating, electricity, their impact on solvency of population and economy.

Speaker of the Government Party:
Oleksandr Diachenko, Director of State Property Management Department, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.

Co-speakers of the Employers’ Party:
Oleksandr Mykhaliov, Director of Social and Economic Policy Department, Association of Organisation of Employers of Ukraine,
Sergii Bilenkyi, member of the National Council, President of the All-Ukrainian Association of Regional Organisations of Employers of Metallurgical Enterprises ‘Federation of Metallurgists of Ukraine’, member of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine.

Co-speakers of the Trade Unions’ Party:
Petro Shevchenko, member of the National Council, President of the Trade Union Federation of Cherkasy Region.

‘We see optimistic growth,’ said Volodymyr Groisman. ‘We forecasted 3% growth in 2017, but we think we can increase this figure. The only thing is not to not create problems for us in Ukraine. This is a key issue,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘That means that Ukrainians will have jobs, we will produce more, wages in Ukraine will increase, including wage share in production, and we will work for joint success.

Talking about achievements of the Government in 2016, Volodymyr Groisman said they managed to stabilise macroeconomic situation. As a result, the country’s GDP grew by 2.2% and by 4.7% in Q4.

Other achievements of the Government in the past year: launch of public service reform, overhaul and country roads, and electronic procurement in progress that has already saved nearly 8 billion USD. Speaking of energy efficiency, the Prime Minister said that the Government stopped decline of Ukrainian gas production, its growth started.

The Government developed a Medium Term Plan of Priority Actions until 2020 and continues discussion with experts and civil society. The plan provides in particular for five priorities of the Government: economic growth, enhancing good governance, human capital, particularly in terms of healthcare and pension system reform, support for culture, national security and defence.

Grygorii Osovyi, Co-Chairman of the National Council, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine said ‘It is important that we consider issues with participation of the Prime Minister and representatives of tripartite bodies from all regions of Ukraine. In our opinion, it allows to correctly assess the state of implementation of reforms in place and properly coordinate efforts of the social partners at the level of central and regional governments in the current year’.

The trade union leader stressed that with adoption of the General Agreement the social dialogue has become more dynamic. Last year, the Trade Unions’ Party worked out over 1,100 draft laws and regulations, and some of these initiatives has not been agreed and returned to lawmakers for revision, on a number of projects dialogue was transferred to the level of debate in legislature.

As agreed by the Parties, in October 2016 the National Committee for Industrial Development chaired by the Prime Minister of Ukraine was created. It accumulates proposals for reforms in the domestic economy. The Committee has developed a number of draft documents, but, unfortunately, process of systemic transformation in the Government’s decisions has not started yet: elaborated aircraft development strategies, and railway rolling stock replacement, etc. are still being developed.

At the same time, the industrial complex has not currently any active development programme, production costs are growing due to faster increase in tariff burden that makes not only critical the state of individual enterprises, but also entire industries. Over the past year jobs in the chemical industry, machine building, instrument making reduced that gave about 300,000 unemployed. As a result, during nearly 3 years, unemployment is 10% or 2 million people. Along with lack of job offers, low quality jobs and poor wages, outflow of skilled labour abroad increased.

Lack of qualified staff is definitely related to their skills level. ‘We consider false the hasty decision on total transfer of vocational educational institutions and funds to the local level,’ the FPU President said.

Equally important is the issue of appropriate financial motivation of Ukrainian workers, including with regard to impact on migration. Therefore, trade unions consider 3,200 UAH only as a starting point for wage reform on the basis of equitable sharing of its outcomes and providing decent standard of living. It is necessary to develop and implement industrial pay standards. To upgrade outdated wage scale in order to avoid egalitarianism between categories of workers and prevent pay gap between managers and ordinary workers that reached 200 and more basic salaries in some companies.

Simultaneously, it is necessary to overcome chronic wage arrears reaching annually several billion USD and concern hundreds of thousands of workers. We suggest establishing a guarantee institution that is the rule for European countries, to amend the bankruptcy law, to strengthen the economic responsibility of the owner for late payment of wages as provided for in the draft Labour Code.

Trade unions submitted the above and other proposals on economy development, employment, pay and safety to the Government and relevant ministries for consideration and inclusion in the Medium Term Plan of Priority Actions 2020. Some of them are reflected in the draft decision on the matter.

Simultaneously, a number of issues have been left out of the published draft document, and we expect that we will continue to discuss them. Moreover, the press receives messages on inclusion of agreements with the IMF and other international financial institutions in drafts on issues that are traditionally subject of the social dialogue at national level and included in the General Agreement. We expressed our concerns both in Kyiv and during consultations in Washington. We believe that the issues of should employment, pay and working conditions, pension and social security etc. first be discussed internally between the social partners, and then taken out to international level and become subject of political decisions.

Unfortunately, we lost the year 2016 due to implementation of social insurance reform, and hundreds of thousands deprived of treatment and rehabilitation of workers and ATO participants. Moreover, this is happening when the health resort system of Ukraine is working at lower capacity, and facilities are empty. In general, the health care reform is suspended, although the Parties insisted that the reform and compulsory health cannot establish effective dialogue with the Ministry of Health.

Having heard and discussed the report of the Government’s Party representative Outcomes of Social and Economic Development of Ukraine in 2016 and Tasks for 2017 in the Context of the Medium Term Plan of Priority Actions of the Government by 2020 and joint reports of the Trade Unions’ and Employers’ Parties’ representatives, the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council decided to base on the draft decision on this matter. Grygorii Osovyi suggested to take into account proposals of the parties of social dialogue when making final decisions. Therefore, each Party should delegate their representatives to implement this process.

A very sharp and fierce debate took place on transparency in pricing of gas tariffs for hot water, heating, electricity, their impact on solvency of population and economy.

After a long discussion of this important issue, the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council adopted a relevant resolution.

this article has been tagged

Energy , Democracy and Social Dialog , Ukraine , Labour Relations & Social Dialogue
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