Ucrania - Proposed new law seriously undermines trade union rights

The parliament of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada, approved a draft law “On State Registration of Legal Entities and Individuals – Entrepreneurs and Community Groups” at first reading on 14 July 2015.

The draft includes changes to the Law on Trade Unions which would seriously weaken the autonomy of trade unions and undermine their internal democracy. There had been no consultation with trade unions or civil society organisations on the text of the draft.

The draft cancels current laws that require the state to legalise newly formed trade unions, without discrimination or delay. Instead, an arbitrary and complex process of state registration is introduced. The proposed process would significantly complicate the formation of trade unions and be easily subject to manipulation to deny and delay registration
The draft law also changes the point at which trade unions acquire the status of legal entity from the moment when the statute was approved as stipulated in the current Law on Trade Unions to the date of their state registration. The likely result will be a delay of at least 30 days, leaving workers vulnerable to harassment and retaliation
The draft also cancels the provision of the Law on Trade Unions that the authorised body may not refuse to legalise trade unions, trade union associations, and instead includes general principles for refusing the registration of legal entities, including trade unions.
In addition, the draft requires a register of personal information about the founders of trade unions. It also gives authorised bodies the right to form trade union organisations, thereby depriving union members of the right to create primary organisations.

Another provision requires the re-registration of all trade union organisations (which are currently registered), setting out a 30-day limit (for other legal entities the limit is 24 hours). This would not only complicate the functioning of trade unions, their associations and trade union organisations at all levels, but also suggests that the law intentionally targets trade unions with the intent of obstructing their registration.

The draft introduces strict state control over the activities of trade unions and public organisations and appears to be an attempt to allow government interference and control over civil society organisations and trade unions.

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