Trade unions resist as Ukrainian government pushes ahead with unjust new labour law


The international trade union movement continues to stand with working people in Ukraine, including teachers, who face unacceptable attacks on their trade union rights. ETUCE has sent a new letter to Dmytro Razumkov, Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament, calling on the government to withdraw the dangerous bill.

Despite protests, supported by trade union bodies around the world, the government has decided to push ahead with the legislative process for the draft law No. 2681 (on trade unions) was debated in the the Verkhovna Radaon 27 May 2020. It is vital that the government reconsiders its approach and withdraws this proposal, which would seriously undermine trade union rights:

  • Limit the exercise of the right to freedom of association by arbitrarily reducing the number of workplace unions.
  • Denies managerial staff the right to form or join a union.
  • Sets a minimum membership threshold which undermines workers’ right to form or join unions of their choice at the workplace, especially for workers in small and medium enterprises.
  • Creates a new trade union supervisory body with wide and unchecked powers to control the activities of trade unions.
  • Removes the employers’ obligation to provide collective bargaining information to trade unions.
  • Removes trade union access to the check-off system for trade union membership dues collection, and, grants the government power to confiscate union property and as a result undermines union independence and autonomy.

These provisions severely violate the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 and these breaches must be addressed before the legislative process continues. These reforms also go against the spirit of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, through which Ukraine has committed to enhance social dialogue. Ukraine must live up to its international commitments and withdraw this bill, which would have a disastrous impact on trade unions and social dialogue.

With Europe facing a social crisis and economic turmoil in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is not the time to destroy social dialogue. Instead the Ukrainian government must work to build a climate of trust and transparency through permanent consultation mechanisms and meaningful social dialogue. This is the only way to chart a path to a sustainable solution to the challenges we currently face.

Education trade unions in Ukraine have total solidarity from the ETUCE and member organisations across Europe. We will continue watching the situation closely.