The Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine (NGPU) at the EVRAZ Sukha Balka mining company in Kryvyi Rih has issued an urgent appeal for solidarity – their appeal is addressed to MPs in the UK. Ukraine Solidarity Campaign has campaigned with the miners successfully against the oligarchs of EVRAZ in the past – joined by John McDonnell MP, now Shadow Chancellor we confronted the owners which include Roman Abramovich at Chelsea FC. Our campaign was a success for the miners against the oligarchs. Please republish this appeal widely and show your solidarity.
URGENT APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY FROM UKRAINIAN MINERS OF KRYVYI RIH
The Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine (NGPU) at the EVRAZ Sukha Balka mining company in Kryvyi Rih has issued an urgent appeal for solidarity – their appeal is addressed to MPs in the UK. Ukraine Solidarity Campaign has campaigned with the miners successfully against the oligarchs of EVRAZ in the past – joined by John McDonnell MP, now Shadow Chancellor we confronted the owners which include Roman Abramovich at Chelsea FC. Our campaign was a success for the miners against the oligarchs. The NGPU are facing a campaign of harassment and victimisation by the oligarchic bosses. Please republish this appeal widely and show your solidarity.
I, Oleksandr Bondar, head of the branch organisation of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine (NGPU) at the EVRAZ Sukha Balka mining company, appeal to you to join with us to stop the multiple violations of human rights in labour relations that are taking place at the EVRAZ company, located in the city of Kryviy Rih, Ukraine.
This company consists of two iron ore mines. We, the miners, united into an independent union back in the 1990s in order to defend our rights to decent work and a decent life.
In our appeal No. 242 of 25 February 2016 (attached) I set out the systematic violations of the trade union’s rights by the company administration. Its General Director and the middle level managers of EVRAZ Sukha Balka systematically obstruct the legitimate activity of the trade union, violating and limiting in all kinds of ways the right of the trade union to defend the socio-economic and labour rights of its members. The administration has frequently refused to give the trade union information it has requested concerning the enforcement of current legislation, the collective agreement and payment of wages.
Among other issues it is necessary to highlight the discrimination of workers at the company because of their trade union activity. The administration of EVRAZ Sukha Balka, starting from the division heads and the heads of their subsections, are falsifying the reports of workers’ administrative infringements, disciplining them and then exploiting this situation to put pressure on workers with the aim of forcing them to leave the union.
An example of this practice is the case of Volodymyr Tkachenko of the mine construction team who was suspended from his job on the basis of such falsified reports and whom the management are now preparing to dismiss. The head of his section Serhiy Ovsiyenko bluntly told Tkachenko that his problems are related solely to his membership of the NGPU, that he will be reinstated once he leaves the union, when premiums and other benefits will be added to his pay to the maximum extent.
At a meeting with the technical directors of EVRAZ, Vice President and Director of the Ukraine division D. Novozhenov issued instructions that the NGPU not be permitted to exist at all at the enterprises of EVRAZ, and called upon these directors to act accordingly. We have evidence of this on an audio recording and the testimony of our trade union members.
Other examples of pressure on our members and violation of their rights include the case of Yuri Yurchenko, machinist of the excavator of the railway workshop, who is a member of the NGPU branch organisation and a member of the conciliation commission for collective labour disputes between workers in the railway workshop and the administration of EVRAZ Sukha Balka. The administration twice broke the law by disciplining Yuri Yurchenko and reducing his wages, suspending him from his job as machinist of the excavator, forcing him to work as a locksmith (which is below his qualification) and by order of the general director requiring him to submit to a pre-term recertification test in order to reduce his qualification.
Serhiy Barabashchuk, master miner, deputy head of the NGPU branch organisation and head of its youth committee is also facing pressure: they are preventing him from completing his qualification exams, threatening him with dismissal for membership in the union and his union activism.
The following people are directly involved in violating the constitutional rights and freedoms of members of the NGPU: Denis Lukin, General Director of EVRAZ Sukha Balka, Oleksandr Bataryeyev, chief engineer (and currently Acting General Director), and Ihor Naumenko, Director of Personnel and Social Questions.
There are family ties between the managers of EVRAZ Sukha Balka, notably between Ihor Naumenko, Personnel Director, and Anton Sviridov, Director of Labour Protection, who utilise these ties for the realisation of corrupt schemes and the above noted violations of the laws of Ukraine. They have created a scheme whereby members of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine are forced under pressure to write statements to the General Director of EVRAZ Suskha Balka that they are quitting the union and on that basis the enterprise directors cease paying members’ dues into the trade union’s bank account, for which they have not right. This is done unilaterally without informing the union. Such statements from members of the union are not received by the NGPU itself.
The above practice demonstrates that EVRAZ Sukha Baka is responsible for gross violations of both international norms and the laws of Ukraine protecting the rights of workers and trade unions, in particular:
-articles 19, 36 and 43 of the Constitution of Ukraine,
– articles 243, 246, 248 and 249 of the Labour Code of Ukraine,
– articles 2, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 12 of the Law of Ukraine: “On Trade Unions, Their Rights and Guaranteed Activities”.
– articles 20 and 23 of the General Declaration of Human Rights; article 8 of the ILO Convention No. 87 “On Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise”, articles 1 and 2 of the ILO Convention No. 98 “Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining”, article 1 and 5 of the ILO Convention No. 135 “Protection and Facilities to be Afforded to Workers’ Representatives in the Undertaking”.
I ask you, as the parliamentarians of the United Kingdom, a big country where human rights are held in high esteem and respected, to intervene in every possible way into the conflictual situation created by the representatives of the EVRAZ employer and to bring to a halt this shameless violation of the rights of workers employed at EVRAZ Sukha Balka in Kryviy Rih, Ukraine.
The headquarters of the EVRAZ company are in London. EVRAZ presents itself as a transparent and socially responsible company, declaring that it will adhere to the laws of the United Kingdom, but this is really not the case.
Respected parliamentarians, you know the suffering borne by the Ukrainian people as a result of the undeclared war with Russia.
I attribute this shameless violation of the labour rights of the workers at EVRAZ Sukha Balka directly to the political and military actions of the Russian ruling elite. These actions taken by the representatives of big business of the Russian Federation place them beyond the bounds of civilised global business.
I ask you to issue a statement about these facts, to support the protest of the workers at EVRAZ Sukha Balka and to remind the representatives of the company EVRAZ that the norms of international law must be respected and implemented.
Head of the branch organisation of the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine at EVRAZ Sukha Balka
Translation by Marko Bojcun