Ukrainian trade unions and social activists have described as a disgrace a new bill on the simplification of labour relations No. 5371, this attack on workers’ rights is rapidly making its way through the Verkhovna Rada, the parliament in Kyiv.   One soldier posted on social media:

“While we are miners and metallurgists, teachers and doctors, trade union activists, are defending the freedom of Ukraine at the front, fattened rear rats in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine are stabbing us in the back. On May 12, 246 deputies voted in favour of the infamous Halyna Tretyakova Bill # 5371, which deprives most Ukrainian workers of all labour rights. We will never forget and will not forgive anyone who will vote for this project in the second reading. We demand its rejection. Death to enemies!”

Posted below is the press statement by the democratic socialist organisation Social Movement.

Simplification of labor code threatens the workers and European integration

A possible adoption of the bill on the so-called simplification of the regulation of labor relations will result in abolition of the last safeguards against the arbitrariness of employers, cases of which have become more frequent in times of war and economic downturn. This was stated by the NGO “Social Movement”.

On May 12, 2022, the Parliament approved the draft Law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts to Simplify the Regulation of Labor Relations in Small and Medium Enterprises and Reduce the Administrative Burden on Entrepreneurship” № 5371 (hereinafter – the Project), introduced by a group of deputies of Ukraine led by Halyna Tretyakova. In the current circumstances, the adoption of this document, which was criticized last year by Ukrainian and international unions, will look extremely unfair and could hinder Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, the organization said.

“In case of adoption of the Project in the second reading, the Labor Code of Ukraine will be supplemented by Chapter III-B entitled “Contractual regime of labor relations”, the provisions of which will contractually narrow the rights of employees in enterprises with up to 250 employees, i.e. the vast majority of workers . This division of people into “varieties” is contrary to the spirit of a social and democratic state. It is the employers who benefit from the excessive expansion of the freedom of contract, because they have a real opportunity to impose unfavorable conditions on employees. For employees, the “contractual regime” will mean dismissal without cause, overtime work on far-fetched grounds or transfers of leave without their consent,” – said Ph.D. on labor law, chairman of the NGO Vitaliy Dudin.

According to the Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement), such a project cannot be approved in general, as it is contrary to the public interest:

– first, during martial law it will not be possible to ensure transparency and proper consideration of the positions of the social partners. This undermines public trust, as it will appear as if the state sided completely with the owners;

– second, liberalization in conditions of mass unemployment (11 unemployed people apply for one vacancy) will lead to the omnipotence of employers. They already have a decisive influence on determining the terms of the employment contract;

– third, the adoption of the Project will worsen Ukraine’s European integration prospects. The Parliamentary Committee on Ukraine’s Integration with the EU found that the content of the Draft did not comply with the norms of the Association Agreement and the International Labor Organization conventions.

Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement, Ukraine) urges citizens to prevent the adoption of the Project as a whole by disagreeing in all available forms, disseminating information about dangerous innovations, and demanding that MPs not vote for Project 5371 as unconstitutional and incompatible with EU and ILO standards.

Read more about the Project in the article “10 questions about the risks of simplification of the Labor Code”:

Project of the new law:

Reaction of the trade-unions: