Ukraine: Protests against attacks on workers' rights say “NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!”


On 14 November, trade unions in Ukraine staged a protest against attacks on workers' rights and in favour of decent living conditions. About 5000 trade union activists from all regions of Ukraine gathered near the Verkhovna Rada in Kiev to make their voice heard.

The new government’s “turboregime” has already introduced legislative changes which deprive civil servants and public sector workers of the right to social protection in case of dismissals. A neoliberal new Labour Code is being prepared by authorities, which, as was announced, will further undermine workers’ rights and collective protection.

The protesters marched along Kiev’s central streets and held a rally in front of the Parliament building voicing their demands to the draft State Budget 2020 and in support of the draft Labour Code prepared by trade unions.

The march took place on the very day when MPs considered the draft budget for 2020. Trade union proposals to provide necessary financing for the public sector, energy and industries were not taken into account. According to the trade unions, this decision could leave workers and their families struggling for survival, with massive job cuts and the next wave of labour emigration.

Numerous members of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine from across the country joined the protest actions.

Demands of the trade union of education and science of Ukraine include:

  1. The State Budget 2020 must guarantee a minimum wage of UAH 7276 and public spending on education of at least 7% of GDP.
  2. Maintaining school teachers’ additional payments such as allowances and bonuses.
  3. Keeping small schools in the countryside open.
  4. An education subsidy that is large enough to fully pay the salaries of secondary school teachers.

The trade union rally was supported by a range of other NGOs, representing individual entrepreneurs, farmers and self-employed workers. After the rally they all gave a press conference and set up a joint national strike committee to prepare for a national strike if the government continues to ignore protesters’ demands.