Joint statement of European and Ukrainian trade unions on trade union rights in Ukraine

Considering that the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit is held in Brussels on the 9th of July 2018, and that the meeting of the Council of the EU-Ukraine Association is planned in December, the European and Ukrainian trade unions believe that urgent measures should be taken, with the support of the European Commission, to improve the social and economic situation in the country, and to increase the effectiveness of social dialogue and adherence to the fundamental ILO Conventions.

Recognising the important role of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in the social and economic development and implementation of democratic reforms, the ETUC, the PERC and its affiliates in Ukraine (FPU and KVPU) urge the Ukrainian government to take the following measures:

• Adhere unswervingly to the basic principles of social dialogue, and for this purpose include trade union representatives in the bodies that develop a strategy for social and economic development and reforms in Ukraine. Resuscitate the work of the National Tripartite Social and Economic Committee and make its decisions binding.

• Include the trade unions in the reforms that are part of the DCFTA and considered necessary by the European Union and the Ukrainian authorities. These reforms, like the one on public administrations, have important implications for workers – implications that need to be dealt with. The European Commission needs to monitor if this involvement happens.

• Raise the minimum wage to a level not lower than the actual living wage in order to counteract the expansion of poverty.

• Pay off debts on wages, which are not received in a timely manner by more than 100,000 Ukrainian workers, and ensure implementation of ILO Convention 95. Only in the mining sector do the wage arrears level up to 1.1 billion UAH.

• Take systemic measures to overcome the wage gap between men and women. The average monthly wage of women in Ukraine is only 80% of men’s wages, although the proportion of working women is higher.

• Hold a nationwide discussion on wages and overcoming poverty and gender gaps, as labour in Ukraine, as elsewhere, is underestimated. The country is ranked the last in Europe in terms of wages.

• Stop the attack on trade union rights, and stop violence and harassment against trade union activists and the alienation of trade union buildings and training centres.

• Hold parliamentary hearings this year on the topic “The status of compliance with trade union rights in Ukraine and the implementation of the ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise”. According to the rating of the International Trade Union Confederation, Ukraine is one of the countries where the rights of trade unions are most violated.

• Continue the fight against corruption, tax avoidance and fraud. Corruption is a scourge on our economies and societies.

• Empower labour inspection in line with the ILO Conventions 81 and 129.