Mass Demonstration in Kyiv and Strikes in Donbas
The U.N International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17) was marked in Ukraine by a massive demonstration of trade unionists in Kyiv. This followed a series of trade union protests in various towns across Ukraine including Zhytomyr, Rivne, and Zaporizhzhya and Transcarpathia regions.
The protest was called by the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) and drew support from workers from all sectors and regions of Ukraine. The FPU was joined by other activists of the labour movement.
The mass demonstration in central Kyiv marched to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, demanding from the Government and deputies the establishment of decent wage rates that would stop the massive outflow of labour abroad, the immediate repayment of wage arrears, a refusal to increase energy prices as dictated by the IMF, safety at work, proper financing of medicine and education in the State Budget, and the cessation of attacks on trade unions.
A rally was held near the building of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, addressed by the Head of the FPU Grigory Osovy, the Chairman of the Miners Trade Union of Ukraine Victor Turmanov, the head of the Kyiv city organisation of the Trade Union of Teachers Oleksandr Yatsun and other representatives of labour collectives.
A delegation from Ukrainian Trade Unions warned the government about delaying the consideration of trade union demands and ignoring their proposals. Stating the trade unions reserve the right to conduct mass protests throughout the country including a Ukrainian wide strike if necessary.
MINERS PROTESTS IN DONETSK OBLAST
Workers protests have also been underway in the Donetsk Oblast (that area not under Russian occupation). The protests are led miners affiliated to the Confederation of Free Trade Unions (KVPU). The leader of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NGPU) at the ‘Selidivugollya’ state mining company began a hunger strike in protest against the months of unpaid wages. The miners have received no salaries for four months. They are owed more than €7 600 000. A woman and families protest was held in support of the miners.
Whilst in Girnik, also Donetsk Oblast workers are on their second day of strike action in the coal chemistry laboratory of the state enterprise “Selidivugollya”. They have not been paid salaries for 4 months.