Ukraine: Continued Attacks on Unions

The ITUC has expressed alarm at continued interventions by armed groups in the internal affairs of Ukraine’s trade union movement, with the latest case involving attempts to bring the Federation of Trade Unions of Lugansk Oblast (FPLO) under the control of the self-proclaimed leaders of the “Lugansk People’s Republic”.

FPLO officials were told, at gunpoint, to convene a meeting of the Federation to disaffiliate from the national trade union centre FPU and were threatened with reprisals if they took part in FPU meetings. National centre KVPU has also reported violence and intimidation against its members and officials in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.

“Targeting of trade unionists by paramilitaries is part of an overall campaign to interrupt industrial production and social and economic stability in the east of Ukraine. Negotiations for a peaceful and just solution to the crisis will have little impact if the key organisations of civil society are brought under paramilitary control and the violence and intimidation continues. All those with influence on the situation must act put an end to this and fully support the peace process which has been launched,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Following the tragic burning of trade union buildings in Kiev and Odessa, local unions report a stream of kidnappings and beatings by paramilitaries. Civilian casualties in Donbass and Luhansk regions are mounting and both regions are on the edge of humanitarian catastrophe as more and more people flee the violence. Public and private property is being destroyed in operations involving the military and paramilitaries, and the local economies are grinding to a halt.

To read the General Secretary’s Statement to the ITUC World Congress in May