“Youth Makes Difference: Youth Employment Policy Dimensions in Ukraine”

The KVPU has faced recently many injustice cases of illegal staff reduction in many enterprises of Ukraine. People and especially young employees are helpless in fighting for their social and economic rights and, being desperate, they join the groups of unemployed resigning themselves.

In order to cope with the injustice in employment sphere, the KVPU with the financial assistance of ITUC/PERC within Union to Union project conducted a training seminar for 23 young trade unionists followed by a round table with journalists and the NGOs working to battle the discrimination in employment in Ukraine.
The aim of the project was to attract the attention of decision-makers, wide range of trade unionists to the voiced demands of young working people on employment policy via advocacy campaign.

Training: Youth learnt how to defend their right to decent employment

Within the training activity under the ITUC/PERC project young trade unionists gathered in Kiev from various regions of Ukraine for two-day training seminar in order to find joint ways to cope with employment challenges and injustice. During the seminar, the head of the KVPU Mykhailo Volynets and first Deputy Head Anatoly Akimochkin emphasized that trade unions are the driving force for change in social and economic life of working people. “We have to listen to young generation of working people. There are a lot of challenges that we face every day in all sectors of economy: aviation, mining, education medical, etc. Along with that there are a lot of attempts to worsen the labour legislation in the country. The Verkhovna Rada today registers many drafts of the laws which threaten and undermine social and economic situation in Ukraine. The young workers are full of energy and enthusiasm and can resist the unfair challenges in labour sphere”, - said Mykhailo Volynets.

During the two day the training participants have mastered techniques and worked out skills in effective instruments on defending their employment and labor rights. One of the popular topics for discussion was discrimination during recruitment and at work place. At the end of the training seminar the participants mastered skills in writing complaints and advocating for their rights at work, using recommendations of the work group discussions and experts’ advise.

A particular focus was made on the peculiarities of austerity measures and liberalization of labour legislation. During practical sessions the participants leant how to utilize effectively the international mechanisms in defending labour rights and social interests of workers.

At the end of the training the participants mastered their communication skills to improve networking with the purpose of getting united against labour rights violations.

Round Table: the voice of youth to be heard

The round table (RT) was focused on discrimination issues in employment. PR manager of Information Center on Human Rights and the coordinator of “Discrimination narrows! Act against!” Yulia Mila and the layer of NGO “Labour Initiative” as well as the Head of KVPU Mykhailo Volynets and journalists of National Union of Journalists took part in the RT. The RT participants raised questions about discrimination during recruitment and at work place. During the RT discussion the young trade unionists pointed out to discrimination of independent trade unions. They indicated that independent trade unions are constantly under pressure and employers impose more penalties on trade unionists. Such pressure on trade unionists and discrimination, in particular, are very difficult to prove. Yulia Mila gave some rational recommendations how to effectively fight discrimination in employment, namely: organize a campaign at national level and write stories to the Information Center on Human Rights on discrimination cases to be published and widely disseminated.

Also young workers were concerned about the Draft Labour Code which was passed in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in the first hearing. The NGO “Labour Initiative” lawyer outlined the articles of the Draft LC which worsen the provisions of the current Labour Code:
“The Draft LC narrows the rights of workers and weakens the positions of trade unions”, - said Olena Mikhalchenko.

Guidebook: “What the young workers should know about employment and new working place”

The KVPU has developed and published a guidebook for young people seeking employment and for those who has just been employed. The training participants highly appraised the guidebook which contains the following chapters:
-  Discrimination during employment;
-  Which documents are needed to get employed:
-  Trial period at a new work place;
-  Contract vs Collective Agreement”
-  Salaries in “envelopes”;
-  What to do when the employer fires the employee?;
-  Legal documents of Ukraine about trade unions;
-  Where to address for legal advice.

Conclusions and recommendations

The project boosted the working youth activity towards combatting discrimination in employment and gave them practical insights and instruments to fight for their working rights. The training seminar and the RT outlined areas of concerns in the national legislative process as the Verkhovna Rada (VR) considers many legislative changes. The training participants are determined to start organizing local campaigns against anti-trade union provisions of the new labour legislation to be considered by the VR and advocate for decent employment policy.

Prepared by: KVPU international department