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Proposed anti-union law threatens Ukrainian union movement

On 27 May, the parliamentary committee on social policy and the protection of veterans reviewed draft law №2681 and recommended that parliament adopt it in the first reading during next week’s session.

This draft law is in contravention of the Constitution of Ukraine, core ILO conventions, including Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining, as well as the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.

Its current provisions would seriously undermine freedom of association in Ukraine by: allowing only two unions per company; setting a minimum membership of a union of at least ten members, which deprives workers of small businesses of their right to form or join a union; allowing the creation of external “control commissions” with unspecified powers over unions; excluding unions that have “managerial” staff among their members from collective bargaining, with no definition of this term allowing for broad interpretation, and refusal to bargain with unions whose members include occasional supervisors not responsible for management decisions. The draft anti-union law removes the employer’s obligation to provide collective bargaining information to unions within one week of a request; undermines tripartite social dialogue obligations and allows the seizure of property that has been in the possession of unions for nearly 30 years since Ukraine’s independence. 

In his letter to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches says:

“We would like remind you that in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, democracy, democratic rules and democratic governance are key to overcoming the current challenges. Trade unions are the key actors in the establishment and development of the democratic infrastructure of your country as elsewhere in the world. I urge you to create the necessary enabling environment for trade unions to operate properly rather than putting barriers in front of them.

“Our global union expects you to put people’s rights and expectations first, before business and economic interests”.

“IndustriALL calls on the President of Ukraine to scrap this draft law without any delay, and act in full accordance with international labour conventions, which have been ratified by Ukraine, and the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement”.

The draft law was initially introduced to Parliament in December 2019, together with anti-worker draft labour law №2708, as part of labour law reform. After a global solidarity action supporting a global union federation mission to Kiev in February, the draft labour law №2708 was abandoned following the resignation of the government.

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