Ukraine: Federation of Trade Unions calls on government to address unfair income distribution and corruption

(3 March 2014) The Council of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) was held on 27 February. The meeting started with a minute of silence in commemoration of those who died during the conflict escalation in the Ukraine. It discussed further the current situation in the Ukraine and determined the priorities for the trade unions.

Members of the Council underlined that as a result of the mass protest of the people the government changed, and the state and society took the path of democratic transformation. These last three months the FPU and its member organisations carried out their activities in conditions of high citizens’ activity and quickly reacted to developments and the social and political challenges.

The trade unions did their best to prevent confrontation among their members on political grounds and the artificial division of Ukraine by some irresponsible politicians in “West” and “East”. In these difficult conditions the Federation, its member organisations continued their activities despite the court rulings prohibiting the unions from being in the Trade Union House.

Unfortunately the authorities trying to remain in power started bloodshed with many victims and injuries. The FPU Council members share the pain of the victims’ families and consider that the guilty officials should be made fully responsible for this. The main causes of the protests include unfair income distribution, low wages, discrimination of workers in pthe ublic sector, poverty among workers, large-scale youth unemployment, total corruption in authorities that brought about people’s indignation. These issues need to be adequately addressed at all levels.

The FPU Council stated that it supports actions aimed at the stabilization of the political and socio-economic situation, ensuring citizens’ rights and freedoms, restoration of peace in the society. The FPU Council calls on employers, on central and local authorities to take all steps to ensure stable work of enterprises and organisations, timely payment of wages, and to prevent dismissals on the grounds of “the difficult situation in the country”. At the same time, trade union activities require profound modernisation, a rethinking of their role and place in the society in order to fully implement their functions, rights and entitlements. The FPU Council called on the trade union organisations, and trade union leaders of all levels to use all their capacities and powers, collective bargaining and dispute resolution mechanisms in order to protect members’ rights and interests.