The BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson recently visited Ukraine as part of BWI’s continued efforts to provide solidarity and support to the trade union movement in Ukraine since 2014. At the time, the Ukrainian Trade Union movement has been facing enormous challenges due to the loss of Crimea and other terriroties in the country followed by increasingly militarized conflicts in the South East of Ukraine. In the midst of this workers’ rights, freedom and democracy, as well as the well-being of workers have also been under attack. The trade unions in Ukraine have been diligently working to strengthen and unify their efforts in calling for peace, promoting transparency, and advocating democratic principles.
In 2014 during the “Maidan- Revolution of Dignity” the Trade Union House, which is located in the center of Ukrainian capital Kiev was a shelter for people who struggled for democracy, peace, elimination of corruption and social justice. On 19 February 2014 the Trade Union House was completely destroyed by fire after an assault of the riot police.
Since 2014 the BWI has expressed strong support to the trade union movement in Ukraine with the belief that workers united can protect themselves and their families from economic disaster, and ensure peace and progress of the country. The first solidarity support mission was organized during Maidan- Revolution of Dignity by BWI affiliates from Germany, Italy and Georgia.
In 2015 BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson and BWI President Per Olof Sjoo visited Kiev to meet with PROFBUD leadership and members to bring solidarity support from the BWI affiliates. The BWI leadership visited one of the symbols of the “Maidan- Revolution of Dignity” – the Trade Union House that was under reconstruction after the fire in 2014.
By the beggining of 2019, the Ukrainian trade unions finished the reconstruction of their “home” and returned back to the center of Kiev. PROFBUD was one of the key unions leading the reconstruction efforts and coordinating the solidarity support fund that was specifically created to collect donations for the reconstruction of the trade union house.
“For trade union members in Ukraine the Trade Union House in Kiev is the icon of the independent trade union movement, democracy and after 2014 it became a symbol of peoples fight for a just and equal society. We are very thankful to BWI affiliates and the whole international trade union movement for their solidarity and support in the reconstruction of our “home”. We feel more confident and powerful now in our fight for workers’ rights, peace and justice,” said Vasyl Andreyev, PROFBUD president.
The BWI General Secretary, Ambet Yuson, visited the newly reconstructed Trade Union House in Kiev in July 2019 where he stated “In 2015 it was hard to believe that the ruined building could be reubuilt soon. Now I see that everything is possible. Trade unions in Ukraine managed to rebuild their “home”, now it’s time to build a strong and dynamic trade union movement in Ukraine.”