Ukraine: Trade Unions disagree with labour law reform


On 17 August 2022, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi signed the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Some Legislative Acts Regarding Simplification of Regulation of Labour Relations in Sphere of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Reduction of Administrative Burden on Business” voted in the Parliament on 19 July. This law introduces extreme forms of labour relations liberalisation and deprives the workers of Ukrainian enterprises with less than 250 workers of rights to labour protection and collective bargaining.

According to expert estimates, the new law impacts around 70% of workers in the country. The main instrument regulating labour relations between employer and employees in small and medium-size companies will be individual contracts. In fact, collective agreements negotiated by unions will no longer apply and unions have lost the legal authority to veto workplace dismissals. This drastic change opens the door to arbitrary dismissals and the trade unions foresee that it will create fear to engage in trade union or other independent activities. For more than 15 months, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, in solidarity with other trade unions, with support of the international community, has been actively opposing the promotion of the anti-labour draft law No 5371 in wartime conditions.

“Trade unions appeal to employers and socially responsible businesses to refrain from applying the norms of this Law, so as not to lose workforce capacity that is necessary for the reconstruction of the Ukraine. We emphasise that no one can force the employee to sign an employment contract concluded under pressure – it is null and void”, stated the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, TUESWU.

EI and ETUCE stand with our affiliates in the joint fight against injustice and the violation of workers’ rights. We support democratic values of strong social dialogue and meaningful collective bargaining.

“ETUCE will be further calling on the European institutions and bodies, demanding for EU leverage on this unacceptable matter. We expect the Ukrainian state institutions to reconsider this anti-trade union and anti-labour bill”, stated Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director.

See also EI news item