Ukraine: Unions launch 10,000-strong rally vs. government’s “labour reform laws”

Coinciding with the World Day for Decent Work on 7 October, Ukraine’s trade unions launched their biggest protest to date against the government’s plan to change the country’s labour and trade union legislation, asserting that it will undermine workers’ social guarantees.

Deemed as the biggest workers’ mobilisation in Ukraine in the past two years, the 10,000-strong protest rally also gave its support to the trade union negotiating team tasked to talk to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and other government officials regarding the trade unions’ demands. 

Among the key demands the trade unions are pushing for are:  

  • 1. Withdrawal of more than 2 dozen anti-labour and anti-union bills which were submitted to the Ukrainian Parliament.

  • 2. Constitutional right guarantees for decent wages, employment and health and safe working conditions. 

  • 3. Allocation of appropriate state budget resources for measures that seeks to reduce poverty and income inequality.

  • 4. Elimination of wage arrears of UAH 3 billion covering 140,000 workers and establishment of a guarantee fund for employees in case of bankruptcy.

  • 5. Ensure the constitutional right to quality education and medical services, and the right of young people, especially fresh graduates, to guaranteed employment.

Construction and Building Materials Workers’ Union (PROFBUD) President Vasyl Andreev, who is part of the trade union negotiating team, said that “there is a hope that the agreement to continue negotiations on labour reform in the next 2 weeks will bring positive results.”

“Otherwise, the workers’ social unrest may once again spill over the streets,” Andreev warned.