The ITUC affiliates in the Ukraine are the All-Ukrainian Union of Workers’ Solidarity (VOST), the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) and the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU).

In February 2014, demonstrators occupied key buildings in Kiev to protest the government of then President Yanukovych. Street battles between protestors and security forces ensued, leaving scores dead. The Parliament subsequently used constitutional powers to install a transition government and set an election for 25 May. Since then, the territorial integrity of Ukraine has been threatened. In March, Russia seized the Crimea and is now through proxies contesting key cities in Eastern Ukraine.

In practice

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Petro Garmash, leader of the Independent Trade Union of DonbassAero Company, reported that 724 employees at the company were dismissed from work without consultations with trade unions in violation of the law and an enterprise level collective agreement. Oleg Novikov, the General Director of DonbasAero refused to recognize the collective agreement as an effective document and did not consult the union with regard to staff reduction and dismissals. The union appealed to the General Prosecutor, the Ministry of Social Policy, the Labor Inspection, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Dues and Taxes and the Ministry of Economy which has not led to any results so far.

Pavel Efimovich, the head of the primary trade union in Korosten reported that the administration of the locomotive depot discriminated and put pressure on him because of his trade union activities. The KVPU sent an official letter to the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, requesting to investigate the situation and undertake appropriate measures.

The trade union leader of the primary trade union of the NPGU at “Interpipe NTZ” was dismissed without consultation with the union or any justification. An appeal was filed with teh local administrative court.

Sergyi Bizhko, head of the primary trade union of the NPGU “Production Unit - South Machinery Building Plant named after Makarov," reported that management refuses to provide premises for trade union activities. He stated that trade union leaders to do not get time off for trade union activities. The union filed a case with the court.

Igor Pryzhbylo reported to the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine that manamgent of Ordzhonikidzevugillia breached a collective agreement with the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine (NPGU) in Unokomunarivsk and Vuglegirsk. According to the collective agreement, the company owes the union 214.450,00 Hryvnas for cultural and health activities at the coal-mine Poltavska.

The Izmail trade port is trying to change the location of the jobs of trade unionists transferring them to remote place without a clear job description. Management refuses to issue a written justification about the transfer. The union is still carrying out consultations with the port administration.

The activities of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) in the Zaporojia Oblast region were prohibited by the Zaporojia Regional Administrative Court on 18 December 2012 because the union did not provide its tax declaration on time.

In October 2012, Valentyna Koroba, the head of the Free Trade Unions of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine was physically attacked by Natalia Boitchenko, manager of the market where she works.

Members of the NPGU were forced to go on unpaid leave when they tried to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the management of the “Sadova” mine in October 2012.

In November 2012, the state enterprise “Selidovugillia” violated the sectoral collective agreement between the Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining Industry of Ukraine and all-Ukrainian trade unions in the coal mining industry by reducing and transferring staff to other work places.

The management of the “Novodruzhivska” mine of OJSC “Lesechanskvugillya” informed the plant level union in July 2012 that it could not use its premises anymore and that Chairman Marchenka should no longer be its representative.

Mr. Zavgorodniy R.V., Chairman of the primary trade union of workers in foreign enterprises “Coca-Cola beverages Ukraine Limited” was not permitted to take leave in order to attend an educational seminar provided for KVPU members in April and August 2012.

Mr. Andryi Kudelya, the head of the primary trade union “Justice Protection” was dismissed when he was in the process of filing a dispute on behalf of “Metro Cash & Carry” workers with the National Service of Mediation and Conciliation in October 2012.

The Ukrainian trade union movement had to fight in 2011 against proposed reforms promoted by the IMF, and against a new draft Labour Code, which would reduce the right of trade unions to protect their members from unfair dismissal. Despite the protests, the new Code looked set to become law in 2012. The minority trade union centres were highly critical of the new law on social dialogue (which came into force at the beginning of 2011), which in practice excludes minority trade union centres from tripartite social dialogue at the national level, while the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) found itself the target of an anti-union campaign. The Chair of the FPU, Vasil Hara, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office in June; the FPU leadership was accused of the illegal privatisation of trade union assets, and the House of Unions in Kiev was searched by the tax police in August. Vasil Hara resigned on 7 November, and was succeeded by Yuri Kulik.

The FPU and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) noted that trade union rights were repeatedly violated.

The KVPU reports numerous cases of pressure against trade union members, union busting, the inefficiency of the courts and law enforcement bodies when the unions turn to them for protection, and the poor enforcement of court decisions. They additionally note that employers resist the establishment of new trade unions, ignore local trade unions and refuse to collect membership dues (using the check-off system).

Both the FPU and KVPU suffer from anti-union discrimination and interference by the public authorities in their trade union activities, and from employers’ failure to respect the right to organise and to bargain collectively.

Collective bargaining is getting increasingly complicated and less effective, one of the reasons being the deregulation of the collective bargaining process. Employers have also outright refused to bargain with trade unions, which was for example the case for Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) affiliates in Chuhuiv Plumbing Company in the Kharkiv region and in Coal and Chemical Laboratory PC in the Donetsk region as well as for Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) affiliates at Kyiv Metro, Epicenter-K, and Myronivsky breadstuff JSC.

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