Following a letter from the FPSU trade union confederation, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association has written to the President to raise serious concerns about the latest developments in labour law reform. The original government proposals from December 2019 were widely attacked by the Ukrainian and international labour movements. However, recent amendments haven't dealt with many of the trade union concerns. These include among other issues: arbitrarily reducing the number of workplace unions; denying managerial staff the right to form or join a unions; setting a minimum membership threshold which undermines workers' rights to form or join unions of their choice; and creating a new trade union supervisory body with wide and unchecked powers. The Special Rapporteur also highlights the failure of the government to properly consult with trade unions throughout the legislative process. Similar issues have been raised in letters to the President and government from the international Human Rights Watch organisation. Meanwhile the health workers’ union continues to assert its right to take industrial action with all key workers at health facilities in the city of Smila, south of Kyiv, taking part in an indefinite protest against non-payment of wages. On 29 July full health services were provided for only an hour and just emergency services for the rest of the day.
Unions continue to challenge proposed labour reforms
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EPSU and other international trade union organisations have joined the protests against labour law reforms that would undermine worker and trade union rights. Among other negative changes, the reforms would reduce protection against dismissal, increase working time, allow for zero-hour contracts, undermine collective bargaining and weaken trade union rights' to organise. Trade unions were not involved in any consultation over the proposals and EPSU has sent a letter of protest to the government.
On 30 June trade unions, supported by international union organisations, organised protests across the country, launching a week of action against government proposals to reform labour law. The substantial changes undermine trade union rights and are in conflict with the fundamental International Labour Organisation conventions (87 and 98) on the right to organise and negotiate. EPSU, along with the ETUC, has written letters of protest to the government, president and parliament.