Ukraine. KVPU warned about adoption of bills undermining workers’ rights

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) organized the online conference to highlight the threats of adoption of the set of the labour related draft laws that significantly narrow workers and trade unions’ rights on 21st of April. Moreover, the KVPU started the campaign to stop the attack on workers’ rights.

The Chairperson of the KVPU Mykhailo Volynets emphasized that in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic the Ukrainian Government and members of the parliament major party developed nine draft laws aimed at liberalizing and deregulating labor relations and cuts in social protection. These bills provisions contradict the ILO conventions and EU directives. Moreover, the set of these bills is based on the norms and principles of labor relations, which were stated in the bill "On Labor" against which trade unions protested last year. The ITUC, ETUC and PERC affiliated trade union organizations around the world took solidarity actions in support of their Ukraine colleagues in February 2020.

In particular, the draft law №5054-1 "On Amendments to the Labor Code of Ukraine to regulate certain issues of labor relations" establishes self-regulation labor relations, and deprives trade unions of the functions of their human right and existing guarantees. The draft law №5388 "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Deregulation of Labor Relations replaces the legislative regulation of labor relations between employer and employee with the conclusion of an individual written employment contract between them. Thus, the level of labor guarantees for employees will be significantly reduced, and trade unions will lose the possibility to protect the interests of certain groups of employees. The draft law № 5371 "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts regarding Simplification of Labor Relations Regulation for Small and Medium Business as well as Alleviation of Administrative Burden on Business” creates risks of violation of workers’ rights, including the issues of wages, working hours and dismissals. In addition, its provisions narrow the rights of the elected body of the primary trade union organization. The draft Law №2681 on amending the law on trade unions, which restricts trade unions in their rights to establish primary organizations at enterprises, abolishes funding for cultural and health activities, deprives them of powers, human rights functions, as well as existing guarantees for trade union activists.

“The KVPU calls the Government of Ukraine and the members of the parliament of Ukraine to stop the promotion of bills that undermine workers’ rights. Adoption of these draft laws threatens to increase social tensions in labor collectives, as well as rise in unemployment, precarious employment and poverty. The KVPU emphasizes that such legislative initiatives and approaches shouldn’t be implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and the socio-economic crisis it has caused” – stated Mykhailo Volynets.

The President of the Pan-European Regional Council of ITUC and the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC) Irakli Petriashvili referred to the experience of the Georgian trade unions and workers in fighting against labour reform. He warned about the negative consequences of adoption laws that narrow workers’ and trade unions’ rights. Irakli Petriashvili expressed solidarity with Ukrainian workers and trade unions, and assured that the PERC and GTUC support them.

The President of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) Alexander Yaroshuk told about amendments to labour laws and a widespread system of short-term contracts that limited workers’ rights in Belarus. By these changes in labour relations, Belarusian authorities had tried to enslave workers and make them obedient, but later such policy provoked resistance and protest.

The Secretary of the Parliamentary Committee for Ukraine’s integration into the EU Valentyn Nalyvaichenko claimed that such proposed changes in labor legislation create an unequal labor market in Ukraine. The director of the NGO Labour initiatives George Sandul presented the analysis of the negative consequences of the adoption of a set of labor-related draft laws. The Chairperson of the Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine Volodymyr Kozelskyi and the Chairperson of the Primary Trade Union Organisation of Metallurgical Workers Mykola Koliuchyi said that liberalization of the labour law and erosion of workers’ right would significantly worsen the workers’ lives.

Participants of the online press conference agreed on joint efforts to prevent deterioration of the labour rights in Ukraine.

KVPU information