Ukraine’s Parliament has passed two bills that obliterate workers’ rights to collective bargaining and other fundamental labour protections, and allow employers to put up to 10% of their workforce on “zero hour” contracts leaving them without any control over their working lives.
If signed by President Volodimir Zelenskyy, the bills will become law. The ITUC Ukraine affiliates FPU and KVPU have condemned the moves.
Two further draft bills have moved forward the possible confiscation of properties owned by the FPU union centre, which have housed some 300,000 internally displaced persons and continue to provide hubs for accommodation of internally displaced people and vital humanitarian assistance to families who have lost everything and whose members are on the front lines of resisting the Russian invasion.
The laws to remove workers’ rights had been put forward in the Parliament prior to the invasion, but were failed to move forward. The ITUC, ILO and ETUC criticised the proposals at that time. With workers preoccupied with fighting the Russian invasion and unions focused on humanitarian work and keeping the country running, the state of emergency deprives them of the possibility to publicly mobilise against the destruction of rights and theft of their property.
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said “It is grotesque that while Ukrainian workers defend the country and care for the injured, sick and displaced, that they are now under attack from their own parliament while their backs are turned. The big majority of Ukraine’s workers work for enterprises with less than 250 employees, and it is these workers who will be deprived of protection of their wages, conditions and safety if President Zelenskyy signs the bills into law. On top of that, the threat to confiscate property from the unions is aimed at stopping them opposing the draconian bills, and will allow oligarchs to take future ownership of them at bargain basement prices. Despite the war, Ukrainian politics seems to be business as usual, only now under martial law. The law adopted last September to limit the power of Ukrainian oligarchs over the Parliament and the country has clearly failed. We call on the President to stand up to the oligarchs and refuse to sign the bills, and to make it clear that property rights will in future be protected in Ukraine”.
The ITUC and ETUC have protested to the Ukrainian authorities about the bills, which clearly violate key ILO Conventions as well as threatening Ukraine’s EU candidacy.