Ukraine Labour law reform campaign

The struggle of workers in Ukraine for their rights continues!

[This article also in espanol | français.]

The European Solidarity Network with Ukraine (ENSU) notes with disappointment that on August 19 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ratified Law 5371, adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament on July 19.

On August 6, Zelenskyy had already ratified Law 5161 (entrenching “zero hours” contracts), which was also adopted by the parliament on July 19.

This latest decision is a cruel blow: Law 5371 removes all union rights for 70% of Ukraine’s workers employed in companies with 250 employees or less.

Nonetheless, the ENSU petition campaign demanding Zelenskyy veto Law 5351—along with those of Labour Start, the International Labour Network of Solidarity and Struggle and SumOfUs—were not in vain.

The delay in the ratification of the law was clearly due to Ukrainian trade union resistance and repudiation of the legislation by the international trade union movement.

The petition campaigns against the law garnered support from many trade union organisations and their leaders, both international and national, as well as from nearly 30,000 trade unionists and democratic rights defenders around the world.

For its part, ENSU’s campaign won the support of trade union and political organisations and leaders from 18 countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania.

These campaigns have shown that international union solidarity can be set in motion and have created a stronger basis for the future mobilisations that will be needed to defend the rights of Ukraine’s workers.

New labour code

Ukrainian working people could soon be subjected to an even more violent attack from a new labour code to be submitted to parliament in coming months: it aims to strip them of the gains of decades of struggle.

If adopted, the code will establish an almost completely deregulated labour market in Ukraine and set a new low standard for rights and working conditions in Europe.

These attacks on workers are unconscionable in the context of war, given their strong commitment and that of their unions to defending the country against Russian aggression.

That commitment is a key element in the current resistance. What sort of victory would it be in which, having defeated the invader, Ukraine’s workers lost their labour rights?

The looming implementation of the Ukrainian government’s recent raft of anti-labour laws will likely meet with an angry response from the country’s workers,

ENSU, and the growing number of labour organisations linked to the network, will be giving full solidarity and support to their Ukrainian sisters and brothers and their organisations in the battles to come.

Please write to info@ukraine-solidarity.eu for more information about our labour campaigns.

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