On Friday Ukraine, allegedly under the pretext of adoption of laws necessary for visa liberalisation with the European Union, adopted a new Labour Code of Ukraine that critics have dubbed "slavery."
This is the same parliamentary session where an amendment to the code banning discrimination was voted down because it included protections for LGBT people.
The Chairman of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU), Mikhail Volynets, commented on the adoption by the Rada (parliament) of the Code in the first reading:
Today in Parliament in favor of fleeting opportunistic deputies betrayed the interests of ordinary people - farmers, workers, civil servants and voted for slave labor code. The European Union demanded violate international standards and ILO Conventions. For all those who voted on this Labor Code, it will be difficult to explain the logic of their current actions and behavior. Parliament in the following list has no right to exist. Regions in the person of Michael Papiyev slipped authorities in candy wrapper shit - new draft Labour Code of Ukraine. They themselves did not vote for him, but the authorities and under the control of her faction showed their immaturity and indecisiveness.In his speech to protesters (translation by the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign) Volynets said:
The adoption of this draft labour code will result in tragic consequences for working people, who are currently the poorest in Europe. Being under the crisis pressure and under the constant increase of costs for gas, heating, electricity as well as under the burden of constant food price increases, our fellow-citizens live in permanent fear of becoming jobless and being unable to feed their families.
At present the employers do not treat working people fairly and after the adoption of the proposed draft LC, they won’t have any obstacles to violate workers’ rights.
Let’s try to see what the authors of the draft LC have prepared this time for us. We outline below some “innovations” of Vladymyr Groisman, Liudmila Denisova, Mykhailo Papiev and Stepan Kubiv:
The list of the “innovations” could go on…
- The Employer is entitled to perform control over the employee’s work using the technical means (e.g. video).
- Also the employer is given right to transfer any employee to another employer. It is not difficult to guess that such transference would be coercive as the employee will have to agree on that fearing to lose his job. The term of the transference could be infinite as the Draft LC doesn’t foresee any time frames. Also the geography (territory) of the transference is also indefinite in the Draft.
- The reasons for dismissal of workers is broadened. For example, the disclosure of commercial secret. (salary amount discussed among friends – is it considered a secret?).
- In case the employee hasn’t done an immunization or hasn’t been medically examined he\she could be dismissed from work without a notice.
- Considerable pressure in the Draft relates to single mothers, and especially those who have minor children.
Thus we call for all people to come to the Verkhovna Rada building and say “NO” to the adopting of the Draft Labour Code. Only if we are all together we can prevent the slavery of the Ukrainians by not allowing the adoption of the Draft Labour Code.The KVPU has written to the EU Ambassador that the new Code does not meet either EU or International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), wrote to the Rada in July that the proposed Code was "inconsistent with the relevant international labour standards and the legal obligations of Ukraine."
"It is difficult to see any reason why this reform is being undertaken, in particular in such a hasty and non-participative manner," said ITUC.
Trade unionists across Ukraine who could not join those rallying outside the parliament held local protests, such as this one at the port of Izmail. Many protested the law on social media using the hashtag #НіНовомуТрудовому.See how many Rada MPs voted for new labor code that undercuts human rights. Giveaway of power to oligarchs. #Ukraine https://t.co/ATehmC6Rf4— Tristan Masat (@tristanmasat) November 8, 2015
- Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (in English)
- Vitaly Dudin's lengthy 'Ukraine’s labour reforms threaten workers' rights' for oDR from June. Says Dudin: "Soon, Ukraine's sole competitive edge in the European market will consist of having the lowest paid workers with the fewest rights."
- Oksana Dutchak: Unite or Fall: Labor Protests in Ukraine in the Face of the Crises (PDF)