European unions discuss future of Ukraine – democratic and socially just

Trade Union summit for Ukraine, Lublin, 22-23 March 2024

Trade Union summit for Ukraine, Lublin, 22-23 March 2024

(24 April 2024) Following the massive destruction that has been caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now over 2 years ago, unions from Ukraine and other countries met to discuss the repair, rebuild and reconstruction of the country. Creating a joint vision for the future is key to win the struggle and build something better. Recognising the difficult situation on the ground, the unions stress that the voice of workers needs to be present where governments and international institutions discuss and decide the use of the public funds. The European Commission, donors and bodies like the IMF work with the Ukrainian government to develop their view. The Ukrainian and European unions are not involved. The IMF pushes a strategy of fiscal consolidation and has demanded Ukraine develop a privatisation strategy of state-owned companies. This is the same old structural reform proposals that have had an adverse effect on many countries.

As funding will become available for rebuilding Ukraine, it is important that this is used to create a Ukraine with higher wages, better pay and conditions based on collective bargaining and a solid democratic and socially just basis. The public funds should go to those companies that respect the social and labour standards including on health and safety. Companies should pay their fair share of taxes and adhere to obligations to address climate change and protect the environment.

The EPSU General Secretary participated in a panel outlining the challenges for public services including an increased need for health and care. All sectors face the challenge of attracting workers and persuading those that left to come back. Public administrations need to be strengthened to improve labour inspectorates, to ensure tax administrations can effectively collect taxes especially from the oligarchs and companies. And to monitor the use of public funding. Corruption and fraud need to be addressed.

EPSU affiliates at the Conference met with Ukrainian public service unions from FPU and KVPU to reflect on the joint challenges, 22 April. The Conference took place in Lublin, 23 April 2024. A declaration was adopted.

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