Ucrania: ¡detengamos la ofensiva del gobierno contra los derechos laborales de los ciudadanos!

Por Oleg Vernik, Vitali Dudin. Sindicato “Protección del Trabajo”

Este material se está escribiendo cuando en Ucrania acaba de estallar un gran escándalo. La presidenta de la Comisión parlamentaria de política social, Galina Tretyakova, autora del proyecto de la ley antisindical número 2681, ha declarado públicamente que en las pobres familias ucranianas que necesitan asistencia social del Estado nacen los niños de «escasa calidad». Además, ha dicho que le impresiona la experiencia de Singapur con su esterilización forzada de las madres que no pueden criar a sus hijos sin el apoyo del Estado.

En este contexto de tristes analogías con la eugenesia, seudociencia hitleriana, parece absolutamente esperado el ataque del partido presidencial «Siervo del Pueblo» contra los derechos sindicales y laborales de los ciudadanos ucranianos. Durante los últimos 15 años, las sucesivas autoridades burguesas de Ucrania van tratando de «modernizar» la legislación laboral de Ucrania y, en primer lugar, decretar la nulidad de las normas del Código del Trabajo que sigue en vigor desde 1971.  Por supuesto, el Código del Trabajo de 1971 ya se ha actualizado muchas veces y, paso a paso, ha ido perdiendo sus funciones de protección de los derechos laborales de los trabajadores.  Sin embargo, en este momento el Código sigue siendo nuestro puesto avanzado en la lucha contra la liberalización de las relaciones laborales en Ucrania exclusivamente a favor de la patronal.

¿Qué innovaciones antisindicales ofrece el Siervo del Pueblo en su proyecto de la ley No. 2681?

1. Se revocan los poderes de los comités sindicales (órganos sindicales electos) de exigirles a los propietarios de las empresas que rescindan el contrato de trabajo con el jefe de la empresa si éste infringe las leyes laborales;

2. Se introduce una restricción absolutamente insensata sobre la formación de más de dos sindicatos en una empresa. Actualmente, muchas empresas importantes de Ucrania pueden tener incluso más de 10 organizaciones sindicales diferentes. Es decir, los patrones crearán 2 sindicatos «amarillos», mientras que otros sindicatos combativos ya no podrán organizarse en la empresa;

3. Los comités sindicales pierden su derecho a coordinar la aplicación de sanciones disciplinarias (amonestaciones) a los miembros de los comités sindicales;

4. El despido de los miembros de los comités sindicales se efectuará sin acuerdo del organismo superior del sindicato;

5. Ahora, para crear una organización primaria del sindicato, serán necesarios al menos diez miembros, y no tres como hoy.  Esto resultará en que será imposible fundar sindicatos en pequeñas empresas y en subdivisiones autónomas de las empresas.

6. Los sindicatos ya no podrán controlar las actividades de los comedores, residencias, jardines de infancia y otras instalaciones sociales pertenecientes a la empresa;

7. Los sindicatos no podrán exigirles a los empleadores que presenten documentos sobre las condiciones laborales de los trabajadores;

8. Los sindicatos no podrán controlar la nómina y las cuentas de seguro social del Estado;

9. Cesan las deducciones obligatorias de las empresas a las organizaciones sindicales primarias para la organización de actividades culturales, deportivas y recreativas;

10. Se elimina la prohibición a los jefes de despedir a los ex miembros de comités sindicales durante 1 año.

11. El empleador no paga a los miembros de los comités sindicales por 6 días al año que se les asignan para su capacitación sindical.

No están enumeradas todas las innovaciones antilaborales del proyecto de la delictiva ley número 2681 promovida por el grupo parlamentario del partido presidencial «Siervo del Pueblo». Hoy, los derechos sindicales son sometidos a una constante presión. Debido a los casos impertinentes de inobservancia de las garantías e incluso de la persecución de los sindicatos, Ucrania, junto con Bielorrusia, ocupan los puestos más bajos en Europa en el ránking del Índice Global de Derechos de la Confederación Sindical Internacional (ITUC Global Rights Index – 2019).  Una oleada de reformas neoliberales del gobierno de Zelensky le ahoga a Ucrania. Sin embargo, cada día se está fortaleciendo la resistencia a esta ofensiva contra las masas populares. Tanto la postsoviética Federación Sindical de Ucrania como los nuevos sindicatos independientes se han unido para contrarrestar los planes del gobierno.  La Confederación Sindical Internacional (CSI) y su líder Sharan Burrow han declarado claramente a todo el mundo: «Cualquier promoción sucesiva del proyecto de la ley No. 2681 sin una real y significativa participación de los sindicatos, así como su inconsistencia con las normas laborales internacionales y la Constitución de Ucrania, socavará la reputación de Ucrania como un confiable socio comercial e internacional».

Los trabajadores y los sindicatos tienen por delante las batallas decisivas por la preservación de los derechos laborales de los trabajadores ucranianos. ¡De la unidad nace nuestra fuerza!

Ukraine: We Must Stop the Government´s Offensive Against People´s Labor Rights

By Oleg Vernik, Vitali Dudin. Labor Defense Union

This article is being written while a great scandal has just broken out in Ukraine. The chairperson of the Parliamentary Commission for Social Policy, Galina Tretyakova, author of the anti-union bill No. 2681, has publicly stated that “poor quality” children are born to poor Ukrainian families in need of state social assistance. In addition, she has said that she is impressed by Singapore’s experience with its forced sterilization of mothers who cannot raise their children without state support.

In this context of sad analogies with eugenics, Hitler’s pseudoscience, the attack by the presidential party “Servant of the People” against the labor rights of Ukrainian citizens seems absolutely expected. Over the past 15 years, successive bourgeois authorities in Ukraine have been trying to “modernize” Ukraine’s labor legislation and, first of all, decree the invalidity of the rules of the Labor Code that has been in force since 1971. Of course, the 1971 U has already been updated many times and, step by step, it has been losing its functions of protecting workers’ labor rights. However, at this time, the Code remains our outpost in the fight against liberalization of industrial relations in Ukraine exclusively in favor of employers.

What anti-union innovations does the Servant of the People party offer in its draft of Law No. 2681?

1. The powers of union committees (elected union bodies) to require company owners to terminate the employment contract with the head of the company if the latter violates labor laws are revoked;

2. An absolutely senseless restriction is introduced on the formation of more than two unions in one company. Currently, many major Ukrainian companies may even have over 10 different union organizations. In other words, the bosses will create 2 “yellow” unions, while other militant unions will no longer be able to organize in the company;

3. Union committees will lose their right to coordinate the application of disciplinary sanctions (reprimands) to members of union committees;

4. The dismissal of the members of the union committees will be carried out without the agreement of the superior organism of the union;

5. To create a primary union organization, it will take at least ten members, and not three like today. This will result in the impossibility of founding unions in small companies and in autonomous subdivisions of companies.

6. Unions will no longer control the activities of canteens, residences, kindergartens and other social facilities belonging to the company;

7. Unions will not be allowed to require employers to submit documents on workers’ working conditions;

8. Unions will no longer control payroll and state social security accounts;

9. Obligatory deductions of companies to the primary union organizations for the organization of cultural, sports and recreational activities will cease;

10. The ban on bosses from firing former union committee members for 1 year will be removed.

11. The employer will no longer pay union committee members for 6 days a year that are assigned for union training.

Not all the anti-labor innovations in the draft of the criminal law number 2681 promoted by the parliamentary group of the presidential party are listedhere. Today, union rights are under constant attack. Due to irrelevant cases of breach of guarantees and even persecution of trade unions, Ukraine, along with Belarus, occupy the lowest positions in Europe in the ranking of the Global Rights Index of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC Global Rights Index – 2019). A wave of neoliberal reforms by the Zelensky government suffocates Ukraine. However, every day the resistance to this offensive against the popular masses is being strengthened. Both the post-Soviet Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions and the new independent unions have come together to counter the government’s plans. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and its leader Sharan Burrow have clearly declared to the whole world: “Any successive promotion of the project of Law No. 2681 without a real and significant participation of the unions, as well as its inconsistency with labor standards and the Constitution of Ukraine, will undermine Ukraine’s reputation as a trusted international and trade partner.

Workers and unions face decisive battles for the preservation of the labor rights of Ukrainian workers. From unity our strength is born!

Ukraine: Forest Fires Near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

A verdict on Ukrainian capitalism.

By Oleg Vernik, President of the Independent Union of Ukraine “Zahist Pracі” (“Labor Protection”)

For two weeks, a true ecological tragedy unfolded in Ukraine with massive forest fires in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The fires swept huge wooded areas and closely surrounded the nuclear power plant that was destroyed in 1986. The riskiest thing now is a large deposit of radioactive waste, which will represent a danger not only for our country, but also for the whole of Europe, if the fires reach it .

For two weeks, nationally mobilized fire brigades fought the fire desperately, but only the rain and snow that fell on April 14 were able to stop it. On that same date, in the evening, President Volodímir Zelensky spoke on television, reported on the end of the incident and thanked the weather for the great help in extinguishing the fire. But on April 15, the fire resumed and more than 500 firefighters are still fighting it heroically.

The Chernobyl fire revealed all the direct failures and crimes of Ukraine’s capitalist authorities. First, it must be taken into account that the real causes of these fires are associated with illegal deforestation in the exclusion zone: forests are radioactive and their use is strictly prohibited. However, several Ukrainian companies involved in the timber trade have indiscriminately cut down the trees and used them in construction, including using false documents to export radioactive wood to countries of the European Union as firewood or building material. In order to avoid getting caught for deforesting illegally, these “businessmen” cover up their crimes year after year with large fires that hide their extreme action under water.

Of course, there is a strong corruption actively involved here that has been neutralizing the oversight of police and prosecutors for many years. This winter there was practically no snow, the dryness in the forests became very dangerous and facilitated the spread of fires, but this did not stop the Ukrainian bourgeoisie of the forest industry. The arson caused a terrible ecological disaster, and to think about what might happen in the near future is terrifying.

Second, firefighters do not have adequate technical equipment to deal with the fire. Ukraine lacks extinction helicopters. The entrances to the affected areas do not even have roads, so water pumping vehicles often cannot enter. The fireproof clothing is very old, it does not resist high temperatures. Fire trucks are very old, some no longer have job utility and should have been scrapped long ago. Even so, they continue in activity, since there is no budget in the most corrupt and poorest country in Europe to buy new, more modern units. But the authorities always have money to raise the salaries of high officials and buy expensive foreign cars.

The fire in the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the evident inability of the Ukrainian bourgeois government to cope with the Coronavirus pandemic, place the task of socialist transformation before the Ukrainian people. The peripheral model of Ukrainian capitalism leads to a further aggravation of the situation, to the total impoverishment of the workers and to the strengthening of foreign governance. Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine was compounded by the financial dictates of the International Monetary Fund. A growing number of Ukrainian workers, youth and union activists understand the need for a decisive rejection of capitalism. The disaster caused by the fires, with the threat over Chernobyl, has strengthened and confirmed this understanding, as well as our determination.