Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine Statement on Adopted Labour Law
On 17 August 2022, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi, instead of veto expected by the workers, signed the scandalous Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts Regarding Simplification of Regulation of Labour Relations in Sphere of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Reduction of Administrative Burden on Business”, voted in the Parliament on 19 July, which introduces extreme forms of labour relations liberalisation and deprives the workers of Ukrainian enterprises with less than 250 workers of one of their fundamental rights – the right to labour protection and collective bargaining.
For more than 15 months, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, in solidarity with other trade unions, with support of the international community, actively opposed promotion of the anti-labour draft law No 5371 in wartime conditions. We are grateful to all members of Ukrainian trade unions, International and European Confederations of Trade Unions, national trade union centres, global trade unions, trade union organisations of various levels and ordinary members of trade unions of dozens of different countries who joined the large-scale international campaign initiated by the FPU on LabourStart website to sign the petition asking the Head of State to veto this odious law.
Trade unions remain on the line of fighting injustice in the field of labour and repeatedly warn the government that this law grossly violates not only the ILO fundamental conventions, but also the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and Canada, the UK-Ukraine Political, Free Trade and Strategic Partnership Agreement, the European Social Charter, as well as corresponding consequences of such violations.
It should be recalled that the European Parliament in its Resolution of 11 February 2021 regarding implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement called on the Government of Ukraine to “give priority to implementation of international labour standards and the EU legislation and practice in order to ensure the balance of the interests of social partners and protection of the rights of employees in accordance with the provisions of the Association Agreement”
European parliamentarians pointed out to the Government of Ukraine that “its measures to improve business climate, attract direct investment and promote economic development cannot be implemented at the expense of limiting workers’ rights and worsening working conditions” (§ 110).
The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and Ukrainian trade unions emphasise that they will continue the struggle for workers’ rights. However, in view of introduction of martial law in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, they cannot go on street protests and resort to strikes. Therefore, we will challenge the Law in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, the International Labour Organization, other international and European bodies, etc.
We will also vigorously oppose dozens of other anti-labour and anti-union pieces of legislation that government lobbyists are trying to push through the Parliament.
Trade unions appeal to employers, socially responsible businesses to refrain from applying the norms of this Law, so as not to lose workforce capacity necessary for reconstruction of Ukraine.
We emphasise that no one can force the employee to sign an employment contract concluded under pressure – it is null and void. Contact your trade union for advice on your rights. If you are a job applicant and you are offered unfavourable conditions, remember, the norms defined by law and collective agreement cannot be worsen.
Contact trade unions for protection!
In difficult times, our goal is not to block the legislative process and aggravation, confrontation with the parties of state authorities and employers regarding labour legislation reform through preparation and adoption of the new Labour Code of Ukraine, adoption of economically justified and socially balanced decisions in the field of labour, protection of workers’ and trade unions rights.
19 August 2022