Healthcare workers’ mass protest in Kyiv: no to destruction of Ukrainian healthcare!

On Tuesday 19 September, healthcare workers organised a mass protest in Kyiv. More than 1,500 people took part in the protest. Among the basic demands was increase in healthcare subvention of almost 4 billion UAH, higher wages and debt repayment, reform of the healthcare system in compliance with the Constitution and legislation, and taking into account the position of the trade unions.

‘This action is a warning, peaceful one, we’ll see if we are heard. And then a decision will be made based on the results... If they do not hear, there will be a larger action... At the end of August, the debt was 107 million UAH,’ said the President of the Health Workers’ Union of Ukraine (HWUU) Viktoriia Koval.

Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleg Musii specified that the wage arrears to healthcare workers were 100 million UAH (3.8 thousand USD).

‘If today the healthcare workers are not heard, tomorrow all these people will quit their jobs,’ said the Deputy of the Rada.

The healthcare workers demand to increase financing of the healthcare sector to 7% of GDP. According to Koval, today only about 3% of GDP is allocated to healthcare in Ukraine.

The organisers stated their demands to the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada and the Presidential Administration.

The action was organised by the HWUU. The protesters held in their hands banners of the Union with the inscriptions: ‘Do not save on health’, ‘Decent
wages for healthcare workers’, ‘Do not block oxygen to Ukrainian healthcare, ‘No to destruction of Ukrainian healthcare’.

Earlier, the Rada adopted in the first reading the draft law on healthcare reform in Ukraine. According to protesters, the draft law is aimed not at reforming the sector, but at healthcare workers and hospital cuts.

The forthcoming healthcare system reform caused a negative reaction in the society and among the Ukrainian healthcare workers. It became the topic of discussion at the sessions of the HWUU Presidium.

The chairman of the Bolgrad District Trade Union Committee Petro Kyrpyk, in the statement published on Facebook wrote ‘We know that reforms are always difficult. Many countries have passed through reforms. But today the proposed reform in Ukraine will kill the sector and be disastrous for people. Do not let this happen!’

The PSI and EPSU sent solidarity letters in support of demands of their affiliate the HWUU. Federation of trade unions of Ukraine also supported the action.