Ukraine: informal economy national thematic workshop

The thematic workshop was organised by the three ITUC-PERC affiliates in Ukraine in framework of the FNV-supported project. The event took place in Lviv, 11-12 November 2008. The participants exchanged experience of organising workers engaged in informal labour relations.

The KVPU mainly works with the commerce and small carriers’ sectors. The taxi drivers‘ trade union was set up in 2003 after the protests against the authority’s plans to push the self-employed taxi drivers away from the market. About 700 people took part in the protest actions. In 2005 the Lvov small carriers‘ trade union joined the all-national taxi drivers‘ actions and roads blockage against the attempts of the authorities to introduce the strict regulations in the taxi sphere. In 2007 the minibus drivers joined the taxi driver’s trade union. At present the trade union started to organize also the construction auto transport and truck drivers in the central Ukraine. The Lvov drivers helped to organize the colleagues in Nikolayev, Donetsk and Dnepropetrovsk.

At present the negotiations started with the Lvov municipality on collective agreement. One of the problems is that in several minibus and taxi companies the employers started to set up the yellow unions. The KVPU trade unions act at 11 Lvov private transport companies out of 17. According to the chairperson 80% of the minibus drivers work by the agreements but they foresee only the minimum wages, others are working by the patents or civil contracts, among the taxi drivers 80% work by the patent and they are the self-employed. Membership fees are fixed, the amount is established by the council every year, and the fees are collected in cash according to the pay-sheets. Directly to the KVPU the membership fees are transferred not on regular basis and according to possibilities. The primary organizations are setup on the basis of the company to which taxi belongs or according to the taxi halts. The taxi fares are established by the trade union members together with the employers and also they participate in the municipality working group that is responsible for taxi business in Lvov. 70% of the taxi drivers in Lvov are working legally organizing the joint trade union and municipality raids against the illegals. The trade union representatives are going to the accident places in case the trade union members are involved and they are taking care of the drivers‘ security at nights.

The trade union has been established at the market place Ikra and joined the KVPU, the representatives participated at the seminar. At the beginning there were 75 members and now only 35. Mainly they were fighting for the trading places as the city Administration wants to move them to another place. The membership fees are collected by needs and used to cover the courts expenses, they are not transferring the fees to the KVPU and they are trying to solve the problems with the help of the city Administration as the market place founder and owner are not clear.

The FPU in Lvov has no experience in this sphere; they were trying to setup the trade unions at the market places but without success. In Herson after the interference of the transport trade union the Head of the municipality transport department has been dismissed.

The VOST setup the trade union at the central market place at present uniting 10 members. The trade union national forum set up the trade union at the market place “Novyj“ uniting 50 members. The reason why people joint the organization is that the European football championship will take place in Poland and the Ukrainian city authorities are trying to deal with chaotic trade and to concentrate all traders at several market places that are too small and not adapted, thus people do not want to move there.

The participants discussed the trade union motivation service packet that could atract workers engaged in informal labour relations.

1. The VOST is free organization – thus, attractive
2. Legal informational help
3. Internet information, information at working places
4. They will explain how to receive licenses, will represent at the negotiations with the Administration and they will help to prepare the collective agreement.
5. Parliament lobby.

The FPU:
1. Juridical service
2. Participation in the state commissions on the state orders
3. Trade union participation in tariff establishment
4. Social partnership – round table principle on all issues
5. Strike and actions fund
6. Collective agreements must be valid for the self-employed, it is necessary to include their interests
7. Tenders on specialties
8. Health insurance perfection, strengthening social insurance system.

1. To propose to live according to the law rules. Trade union guarantees observing all rights and rules.
2. Collective adoption of decisions. It is easier together. Interests must be expressed jointly.
3. Problem popularization. Publication of the issues, this can be done via the organizations.