Trade unions and MNEs conference in Ukraine

The conference was organized by the FPU and the FES with participation of the KVPU. The main audience included branch leaders and shop stewards of the companies affiliated with MNEs. There were more than 80 participants from all Ukraine regions, members of the FPU and KVPU structures. The main goal was to study existing experiences of trade union implementation in MNEs and to initiate strategic union approach development.

The meeting was opened by the FPU Vice-President Evgueniy Drapyatiy, the KVPU-Vice President Natalya Levitskaya and the FES office director Ursula Koch-Laugwitz. Anton Leppik of the ITUC-PERC introduced existing international mechanisms and frameworks that trade unions could use in their work with MNEs: ILO Declaration on MNEs, Ruggie Framework, OECD guidelines on MNEs, and also explained the trade union position regarding social responsibility of business. Vadim Borisov of the IndustryAll presented experience of Framework Agreements and in particular the work IndustryAll was implementing in Volswagen. While Framework agreements mean recognition of the Global union as social partner for the MNE, the real work is on the level of company level. Sergey Khobotnya, IUF coordinator in Ukraine, introduced the organizing and networking activities of the IUF, its campaigns in Unilever, Danone and Nestle.

Ella Molchanova from National Economic University presented the MNEs coverage in Ukraine, the scope of their activities and motivation. Leaders of sectoral unions – of construction, agriculture and food processing, mining and commerce sectors as well as from international trade union association of Lukoil presented their positive and negative experiences of work within MNEs. The main concern is outsourcing and out-staffing of personnel, low level of job security and unionization, redundancies and undermining of unions. Solidarity and horizontal networking actions are necessary.

The FPU Vice-President Sergey Kondriuk and the KVPU Vice-President Nadezda Leleka presented the experience and the planning of the organisations to work with MNEs, to set up workers rights monitoring mechanisms. In working group sessions the participants defined several approaches to organise and to protect workers in MNEs.