BWI joined the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Ukrainian trade union federations in voicing their strong protest against the Ukrainian government’s attempt to pass a measure to amend its trade union law which will strip workers of their rights and weaken trade unions as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson sent a letter to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reminding him that in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, democratic rules and governance are keys in overcoming the crisis. Yuson said that trade unions are important actors in Ukraine’s democratic infrastructure. He urged the Ukrainian government to create the necessary enabling environment for trade unions to operate properly rather than putting barriers in front of them.
BWI affiliates in the country said that the proposed measure is in contravention of the Constitution of Ukraine, the core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), particularly the Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, and the provisions of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
“Our union will continue to fight the government’s anti-union policies. We are mobilising our members to stop all attempts to destroy trade unionism and workers’ rights in Ukraine,” said Vasyl Andreyev, President of the Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of Ukraine (PROFBUD).
At the start of the year, BWI has already thrown its support to its Ukrainian affiliates’ struggle to oppose the government’s “labour reform” which essentially threatened trade unionism and workers’ rights. The government’s labour reform comprised of several laws. While the proposed measure to amend the Labour Code was withdrawn from the parliament, amendments to the country’s union law remained in the parliament and was recently included in the agenda for voting.