Free Trade Union of AeroSvit company demanded to “give back the sky” and follow the ILO convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize during the protest meeting at the President Administration of Ukraine

22 January 2013 in the morning around 500 employees of AeroSvit company led by the Free Trade Union of Stewards, Air-engineers and Pilots of Ukraine together with of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) came to the President Administration’s building to protest against illegal bankruptcy of AeroSvit, unlawful firing of employees and legalization of strikes. Other Trade Unions came to support the protest action including the trade unions of “DonbasAero”, “Dniproavia”, “Ukrzaliznytsya” and Kyiv metro.

The AeroSvit workers picketed the President Administration demanding from the Constitution Guarantor to interfere with the situation around the air company. The Trade Unions called for dismissal and criminal responsibility of the people who drove the company into artificial bankruptcy. They also requested to stop sacking thousands of employees and to pay out multi-million salary debts. Among the protesters’ demands were the fulfillment of Branch Agreement between the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine, State Property Fund of Ukraine, Association Airports of Ukraine” and the Association of Civil Aviation of Ukraine. One of major focuses in the petition to the President was the request not to violate ILO Convention # 87 and legalize the strikes in aviation industry.

Vadim Rachitelnyi the Head of the Association of Civil Aviation Workers in his speech to the protesters said: “…four years on end the AeroSvit Administration have humiliated us, not listening to our demands and not allowing us to protest and finally they’re throwing us out as used garbage without any means for existence”. Then he continued: “We are here because of numerous appeals to General and Kiev oblast Prosecutors’ Offices, State Tax Inspection, State Aviation Department haven’t brought any results. That’s why we demand that the President of Ukraine should resolve the situation. The Bankruptcy process of AeroSvit looks like a planned action and somebody has to take responsibility”.

The AeropSvit workers have already received notifications for dismissal from their work however there were no any relevant document submitted to the trade unions and the free trade unions are against any dismissals. With no improvement nearly two thousand workers will soon be jobless and their families will remain without financial support. Ivan, a 27-year old pilot, was among the protesters and he told in his interview to TV channel 5: “I want that AeroSvit function in Ukraine and I want to work in Ukraine. If there is no place to work here I’ll have to leave the country for Russia. Now my colleagues are looking for employment not only in Ukraine but abroad as well”.

The Free Trade Unions are determined not to terminate the protests until their rights are met.