ITUC GS Statement on Ukraine

1. Trade unions around the world are monitoring with highest concern the mounting conflict in Ukraine and the dangerous spillover effects in the region and beyond. The main repercussions however are primarily and directly affecting the ordinary people: continuing disruption of their lives on a daily basis, dysfunctional community and civil structures and mounting uncertainty for their future in the years to come.

2. Congress mourns the tragic deaths taking place in Ukraine, expresses its deepest condolences to the families and people of Ukraine, condemns the violence and burning of trade union buildings in Kiev and Odessa, joins the demand to make an independent investigation and to punish those guilty in arsons that led to casualties.

3. Congress urges the relevant policy makers within Ukraine as well the key international actors involved – the Russian Federation, USA, EU to use all their authority to spare no effort to implement the Geneva agreement and prevent armed extremist actions spiraling out of control. It is of utmost urgency to redirect the process towards one of dialogue and political solutions and to open space for the voice of normal people, trade unions, civil society to be part of the process and contribute to the final outcome.

4. Congress calls for de-escalation of tension, respect for the Constitution of Ukraine, for territorial integrity, allotment of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine, disarmament of illegal groups and military forces and withdrawal of armed forces from the South-east of Ukraine as the situation stabilises. It also calls for strengthening of commitments in the field of human rights instruments of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe which is the main competent security institution in the region.

5. Congress recognizes with regret that since then the economic and social situation has deteriorated significantly with increasing risks if current tensions and violence persist. The value of the national currency has already dropped 28 per cent in 2014, significantly undermining working people’s incomes and living standards on the eve of a forthcoming major economic adjustment process. The grim macroeconomic picture has been confirmed in the latest outlook of EBRD - 7 per cent decline of GDP in 2014 and stagnation in 2015, provided the adjustment starts reducing imbalances and no further escalation of tensions.

6. Disruptions in the economic and social systems are on the rise, particularly in the Eastern part of the country. Companies are facing difficulties in maintaining normal operations, to keep jobs while people face problems to go to work, maintain their incomes and way of life.

7. Congress further recognizes the magnitude of the challenge Ukraine is confronting with the need to maintain a critical mass of consensus to open space for the reforms to work while securing an effective level of social justice and social protection to keep people motivated in the process. The costs of the adjustment process need to be shouldered fairly by the all and not fall solely on the working people and socially vulnerable groups.

8. Congress reaffirms that social dialogue is an indispensable tool for designing and implementing the forthcoming reform policies. It points out that the trade unions have already demonstrated their readiness to contribute in this process. This demand from the representatives of working people and the most representative civil society organisations remains the only satisfactory solution to ending the crisis, saving lives and charting a course for the future based on peace, social and economic justice and peaceful co-existence.

9. Congress expresses its solidarity with the trade unions of Ukraine and supports restoration of peace and tranquility as desires the majority of the population of Ukraine who became hostage to geopolitical games.