Oleg Vernik: Lo sciopero dei minatori di Krivoy Rog

Dichiarazione di Oleg Vernik, presidente del membro del PI Zakhyst Pratsi, sugli scioperi dei minatori in corso in Ucraina.

Mentre vengono scritte queste parole, 22 coraggiosi minatori della miniera di Oktyabrskaya a Krivoy Rog rimangono in sciopero sottoterra.

Centinaia dei loro compagni – comprese le donne – di varie miniere sono risaliti in superficie. Le loro richieste sono state soddisfatte solo in parte, ma rimangono impegnate nella loro lotta. Ci attendono nuove, disperate battaglie contro il capitale e per una vita dignitosa per i lavoratori ucraini. Per la prima volta nella storia del nostro paese, siamo testimoni di lotte di lavoro e di solidarietà di questa portata.

Il 3 settembre 2020 i minatori dello Stabilimento Minerario di Ferro Krivoy Rog (KZhRK), gestito congiuntamente dagli oligarchi in conflitto Rinat Akhmetov e Igor Kolomoisky, non sono risaliti in superficie. I lavoratori chiedevano un miglioramento delle condizioni di lavoro e un aumento dei salari che la direzione ha deciso di tagliare mesi prima dell’inizio delle proteste. Dall’8 settembre le miniere “Oktyabrskaya”, “Rodina”, “Ternovskaya” (ex “Miniera Lenin”) e “Gvardeyskaya” sono in sciopero. Per tutto il mese di settembre, 393 minatori sono rimasti sottoterra per protesta. Molte di loro erano donne.

Questo sciopero dei minatori è unico nella storia dell’Ucraina moderna. È uno dei primi a riunire le lotte dei minatori e dei lavoratori di altre industrie. In particolare, i lavoratori delle ferrovie del deposito delle locomotive di Krivoy Rog hanno sostenuto la lotta dei minatori con il loro “sciopero bianco”. Gli attivisti del sindacato indipendente dei lavoratori delle ferrovie hanno individuato problemi tecnici in decine di locomotive e si sono rifiutati di lavorarci. Il 27 e 28 settembre, circa 10 locomotive non hanno mai lasciato il deposito delle locomotive di Krivoy Rog – una potente dimostrazione di solidarietà con i minatori in sciopero del KZhRK. Lavoratori delle ferrovie hanno partecipato ad azioni di solidarietà in luoghi anche lontani da Krivoy Rog, tra cui Nikopol e Nizhnedniprovskiy Uzel.

La protesta dei minatori di Krivoy Rog si è scatenata a causa dei cambiamenti nella struttura salariale degli impiegati. Una volta il salario dei minatori veniva pagato all’ora, tenendo conto di tutto il tempo speso sottoterra. Recentemente, i salari sono stati legati alla produzione, e gli stipendi sono calati drasticamente: le attrezzature antiquate delle miniere si guastano regolarmente, e gli operai non sono più pagati per ripararle. Ma anche le condizioni generali di lavoro hanno giocato un ruolo importante. I minatori affermano che le attrezzature delle miniere sono in uso da oltre 30 anni, con notevoli impatti negativi sulla salute e sull’ambiente di lavoro. Secondo i difensori dei diritti umani, un lavoratore è morto in una miniera di KZhRK nell’aprile 2020. Un tribunale ha ammesso in seguito che il decesso è stato causato dalle cattive condizioni tecniche delle attrezzature. Infine, il rischio di perdere il diritto alla pensione ha dato ulteriore impulso agli scioperi. Secondo i minatori, più di quattromila lavoratori non avranno diritto a una pensione preferenziale. E la riforma delle pensioni dell’Ucraina, adottata diversi anni fa, ha colpito in modo particolarmente duro le minatrici. Invece di un possibile pensionamento a 45 anni, dovranno lavorare per almeno altri cinque anni in più.

Molti dei principali media ucraini hanno prestato particolare attenzione alla richiesta degli scioperanti di sostituire i vertici dello Stabilimento Minerario di Ferro Krivoy Rog. Ho già scritto che la KZhRK è di proprietà congiunta di due oligarchi ucraini concorrenti – Kolomoiskiy e Akhmetov – che hanno quote uguali nel business. Kolomoysky ha formalmente trasferito la sua quota ad un altro oligarca, Yaroslavsky, ma gli esperti ritengono che la gestione di KZhRK sia ancora assegnatada Kolomoysky. Molti hanno ipotizzato, speculando sulla richiesta di sostituire i vertici della miniera, che gli scioperi siano parte di un complotto di Akhmetov per ottenere il controllo totale dello Stabilimento Minerario di Ferro Krivoy Rog.

Questa teoria del complotto ignora il potere emerso dal movimento di protesta di massa dei lavoratori. Un tale movimento è pericoloso per l’oligarchia ucraina in generale. Qui, proprio sotto agli occhi di un movimento operaio di massa, la classe dirigente si sta consolidando; solo il lavoro organizzato di massa può distruggere il modello di capitalismo oligarchico ucraino. Questo è il motivo per cui non è il conflitto tra oligarchi ucraini ad essere importante per la nostra analisi della situazione, ma il livello di organizzazione e le attività del movimento democratico dei lavoratori, abbracciato dai sindacati indipendenti in tutta l’Ucraina.

Krivoy Rog è il luogo di nascita dell’attuale presidente dell’Ucraina, Volodymyr Zelensky, che ha ricevuto dagli elettori un sostegno record alle elezioni presidenziali e parlamentari nella sua città natale. I minatori di Krivoy Rog hanno avuto motivo di contare sul sostegno di Zelenskyi per le loro richieste. Tuttavia, sia Zelensky che l’ufficio del Presidente hanno preso le distanze dai minatori. Durante gli incontri tra i minatori in sciopero e i membri del Parlamento del partito Servitore del Popolo di Zelensky, ai minatori è stato chiesto di esprimere la loro sfiducia nei confronti dei leader sindacali, che avevano dato il via allo sciopero.

Inoltre, le autorità ucraine non hanno intrapreso alcuna misura per proteggere i minatori in sciopero dalla repressione da parte dell’amministrazione dello Stabilimento Minerario di Ferro Krivoy Rog. L’amministrazione del KZhRK ha iniziato a pubblicare sui social network i dati personali dei minatori in sciopero sottoterra e, secondo le informazioni del deputato ucraino Mykhaylo Volynets, l’appartamento di uno dei minatori in sciopero sotterraneo è stato svaligiato. “In realtà, i vertici dello stabilimento hanno agito legittimando i ‘domushniki’ (scassinatori)”, ha detto Volynets.

“I lavoratori che sono sottoterra sentono una pressione fisica e morale disumana… Ma si presume che il presidente debba affrontare una pressione ancora maggiore da parte degli oligarchi”. Penso che entrambi i proprietari gli stiano chiedendo di non interferire nella situazione, perché questo dimostrerebbe che i manifestanti hanno ragione, e la situazione cambierebbe in modo significativo”, dice Vitaliy Dudin, capo del dipartimento legale del sindacato indipendente ucraino “Zakhyst Pratsi” (“Protezione del lavoro”).

La situazione si sta sviluppando in modo dinamico e ogni giorno porta nuove notizie. Ma il fatto che lo sciopero dei minatori di Krivoy Rog sia risuonato in tutto il mondo ci entusiasma e ci incoraggia. Ogni lotta di classe dà ai lavoratori ucraini un’esperienza inestimabile. La solidarietà globale dei lavoratori non è più un ideale astratto, ma una realtà molto concreta per i lavoratori ucraini. I lavoratori ucraini ringraziano i loro compagni e le loro compagne di tutto il mondo per il loro sostegno senza precedenti. Ci sono ancora molte battaglie da affrontare per una vera democrazia e per i diritti dei lavoratori. Queste battaglie sono state, sono e saranno sempre internazionali.

https://progressive.international/wire/2020-10-06-the-krivoy-rog-miners-strike-the-workers-cannot-be-broken/it

Oleg Vernik: La huelga de lxs minerxs de Krivoy Rog

Mientras se escriben estas líneas, 22 valientes minerxs de la mina Oktyabrskaya en Krivoy Rog continúan en huelga bajo tierra. Cientos de sus camaradas de distintas minas, incluyendo mujeres, ya han salido a la superficie. Sus demandas han sido solo parcialmente satisfechas, pero ellxs permanecen comprometidxs con su lucha. Se …

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Oleg Vernik : La grève des mineurs de Krivoy Rog



Déclaration d’Oleg Vernik, président de Zakhyst Pratsi, membre de l’IP, au sujet des grèves des mineurs en cours en Ukraine.

Au moment où ces lignes sont écrites, 22 courageu·ses·x mineurs de la mine Oktyabrskaya à Krivoy Rog sont toujours en grève souterraine.
Des centaines de leurs camarades de diverses mines, dont des femmes, sont déjà remonté·e·s à la surface. Leurs demandes n’ont été que partiellement satisfaites, mais les mineurs restent engagé·e·s dans leur lutte. De nouvelles batailles urgentes les attendent, contre le capital et pour que les travailleur·euse·s ukrainien·ne·s mènent une vie décente. Pour la première fois dans l’histoire de notre État, nous assistons à une lutte ouvrière et à un élan de solidarité de grande ampleur.
Le 3 septembre 2020, les mineurs de l’usine de minerai de fer de Krivoy Rog (ZhRK, Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Plant), dirigée conjointement par les oligarques rivaux Rinat Akhmetov et Igor Kolomoisky, ne sont pas remonté·e·s à la surface. Les travailleur·se·s exigeaient des salaires plus élevés, que la direction avait décidé de réduire quelques mois avant les manifestations, et de meilleures conditions de travail. Depuis le 8 septembre, les mines « Oktyabrskaya », « Rodina », « Ternovskaya » (anciennement « Mine Lénine »), et « Gvardeyskaya » sont en grève. Tout au long du mois de septembre, 393 mineurs, dont de nombreuses femmes, sont resté·e·s sous terre en signe de protestation.
Cette grève des mineurs est unique dans l’Ukraine moderne. Elle est l’une des premières à rassembler les luttes des mineurs et des travailleur·se·s d’autres industries. En particulier, les employé·e·s du dépôt de locomotives de Krivoy Rog ont soutenu la lutte des mineurs avec une « grève à l’italienne ». Les militant·e·s du syndicat indépendant des employé·e·s de chemins de fer ont identifié des problèmes techniques dans des dizaines de locomotives et ont refusé de les conduire. Les 27 et 28 septembre, une dizaine de locomotives n’ont pas quitté le dépôt de Krivoy Rog – une puissante manifestation de solidarité avec les mineurs en grève de KZhRK. Les employé·e·s ont également pris part à des actions de solidarité dans des lieux éloignés de Krivoy Rog, notamment à Nikopol et à Nizhnedniprovskiy Uzel.
La protestation des mineurs de Krivoy Rog a été déclenchée par des changements dans la structure des salaires. Les salaires des mineurs étaient autrefois payés à l’heure, en tenant compte de tout le temps passé sous terre. Récemment, les salaires ont été annexés àla production et ont fortement baissé ; les machines obsolètes utilisées dans les minestombent fréquemment en panne et les ouvrier·ère·s ne sont plus payé·e·s pour les réparer. Mais les conditions générales de travail ont également joué un rôle. Les mineurs affirment que l’équipement dans les mines est utilisé depuis plus de 30 ans, ce qui a des conséquences néfastes sur leur santé et leur environnement de travail. Selon les défenseur·se·s des droits humains, un·e travailleur·euse est mort·e dans une mine de KZhRK en avril 2020. Un tribunal a ensuite admis que le décès était dû au mauvais état technique des équipements. Enfin, le risque de perdre le droit à une pension a donné un nouvel élan aux grèves. Selon les mineurs, plus de quatre mille travailleur·euse·s n’auront pas droit à une retraite préférentielle. Et la réforme des retraites en Ukraine, adoptée il y a plusieurs années, a durement touché les femmes mineurs. Au lieu de pouvoir prendre leur retraite à 45 ans, elles devront travailler au moins cinq ans de plus.
De nombreux grands médias ukrainiens ont accordé une attention particulière à la demande des grévistes de remplacer la direction de l’usine de minerai de fer de Krivoy Rog. J’ai déjà écrit que KZhRK est la propriété de deux oligarques ukrainiens concurrents, Kolomoiskiy et Akhmetov, qui ont des parts égales dans l’entreprise. Kolomoysky a officiellement transféré sa part à un autre oligarque, Yaroslavsky, mais les expert·e·s pensent que la direction de KZhRK est toujours nommée par Kolomoysky.Àcause de l’attention donnée à la demande de remplacement de la direction de la mine, beaucoup ont supposé que les grèves faisaient partie d’un complot d’Akhmetov pour obtenir le contrôle total de l’usine de minerai de fer de Krivoy Rog.
Cette théorie de la conspiration méconnaît la puissance du mouvement de protestation ouvrière de masse qui a émergé. Un tel mouvement menace l’oligarchie ukrainienne dans son ensemble. Ici, face à un mouvement ouvrier de masse, la classe dominante se consolide ; seule la classe travailleuse organisée peut détruire le modèle ukrainien de capitalisme oligarchique. C’est pourquoi ce n’est pas le conflit entre les oligarques ukrainiens qui est important selon notre analyse, mais le niveau d’organisation et les activités du mouvement syndical démocratique, adopté par des syndicats indépendants à travers l’Ukraine.
Krivoy Rog est le lieu de naissance de l’actuel président de l’Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, qui a reçu un soutien inégalé lors des élections présidentielles et parlementaires dans sa ville natale. Les mineurs de Krivoy Rog avaient des raisons de compter sur Zelenskyi pour soutenir leurs revendications. Cependant, tant Zelensky que le bureau du président ont pris leurs distances envers les mineurs. Et lors des réunions entre les mineurs en grève et les député·e·s du parti du « Serviteur du peuple » de Zelensky, les mineurs ont été appelé·e·s à exprimer leur méfiance à l’égard des dirigeant·e·s du syndicat, qui avaient lancé la grève.
De plus, les autorités ukrainiennes n’ont pris aucune mesure pour protéger les mineurs grévistes face à la répression de l’administration de l’usine de minerai de fer Krivoy Rog. L’administration de la KZhRK a commencé à publier sur les réseaux sociaux des données personnelles sur les mineurs en grève souterraine et, selon les informations du député ukrainien Mykhaylo Volynets, l’appartement d’un·e des mineurs en grève a été cambriolé. « En fait, la·le chef·fe de l’usine a servi d’artilleur·euse pour les ‘domushniki’ (cambrioleur·euse·s) », a déclaré Volynets.
« Les travailleur·euse·s qui sont sous terre ressentent une immense pression physique et morale… Mais l’on suppose que le président subit encore plus de pression de la part des oligarques. Je pense que les deux propriétaires lui demandent de ne pas intervenir dans la situation, car cela prouverait que les manifestant·e·s ont raison, et la situation changerait considérablement », a déclaré Vitaliy Dudin, le chef du département juridique du syndicat indépendant pan-ukrainien « Zakhyst Pratsi » (« Protection du travail »).
La situation évolue rapidement et chaque jour apporte son lot de nouvelles. Mais le fait que la grève des mineurs de Krivoy Rog ait trouvé un écho dans le monde entier nous inspire et nous encourage. Toute lutte des classes donne aux travailleur·euse·s ukrainien·ne·s une expérience inestimable. La solidarité mondiale des travailleur·euse·s n’est plus un idéal abstrait, mais une réalité très concrète pour les travailleur·euse·s en Ukraine. Celleux-ci remercient leurs camarades du monde entier pour leur soutien inédit. Il reste encore de nombreuses batailles à mener pour une véritable démocratie et des droits du travail. Ces combats ont été, sont et seront internationaux.
https://progressive.international/wire/2020-10-06-the-krivoy-rog-miners-strike-the-workers-cannot-be-broken/fr

Oleg Vernik: The Krivoy Rog miners’ strike

Statement from Oleg Vernik, Chairman of PI Member Zakhyst Pratsi, on the ongoing miners’ strikes in Ukraine.

As these lines are written, 22 brave miners of the Oktyabrskaya mine in Krivoy Rog remain on strike underground.

Hundreds of their comrades from various mines — including women — have already risen to the surface. Their demands have only been partially met, but they remain committed to their struggle. New, desperate battles lie ahead, against capital and for a decent life for Ukrainian workers. For the first time in the history of our state, we are witnessing labour struggle and solidarity on this scale.

On 3 September 2020, the miners of the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Plant (KZhRK), run jointly by the conflicting oligarchs Rinat Akhmetov and Igor Kolomoisky, did not come to the surface. The workers demanded higher wages, which the management decided to cut a few months before the protests, and better working conditions. From 8 September, the “Oktyabrskaya”, “Rodina”, “Ternovskaya” (formerly the “Lenin Mine”), and “Gvardeyskaya” mines were on strike. Throughout September, 393 miners stayed underground in protest. Many of them were women.

This miners’ strike is unique in modern Ukraine. It is one of the first to bring together the struggles of miners and workers in other industries. In particular, railway workers from the Locomotive Depot in Krivoy Rog supported the miners’ struggle with their “Italian strike”. Activists from the Independent Railway Workers’ Union identified technical issues in dozens of locomotives and refused to work on them. On 27 and 28 September, about 10 locomotives never left the Locomotive Depot in Krivoy Rog — a powerful demonstration of solidarity with the striking miners of KZhRK. Railway workers also took part in solidarity actions in places far from Krivoy Rog, including in Nikopol and Nizhnedniprovskiy Uzel.

The Krivoy Rog miners’ protest was sparked by changes in the salary structure. The miners’ wages were once paid hourly, taking into account all the time that they spent underground. Recently, wages have been tied to production, and salaries have fallen sharply: the outdated equipment in the mines fails regularly, and workers are no longer paid for repairing it. But overall working conditions also played a role. The miners say that the equipment at the mines has been in use for over 30 years, with significant detrimental impacts on their health and work environment. According to human rights defenders, a worker died in a mine at KZhRK in April 2020. A court later admitted that this was due to the poor technical condition of the equipment. Finally, the risk of losing the right to a pension added further impetus to the strikes. According to the miners, more than four thousand workers will not eligible for preferential retirement. And Ukraine’s pension reform, which was adopted several years ago, hit female miners particularly hard. Instead of a possible retirement at 45, they will have to work for at least five years longer.

Many leading Ukrainian media outlets have paid particular attention to the strikers’ demand to replace the management of the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Plant. I have already written that KZhRK is jointly owned by two competing Ukrainian oligarchs — Kolomoiskiy and Akhmetov — who have equal shares in the business. Kolomoysky formally transferred his share to another oligarch, Yaroslavsky, but experts believe that the management of KZhRK is still appointed by Kolomoysky. By focusing on the demand to replace the mine’s management, many have assumed that the strikes are part of a plot by Akhmetov to gain total control over the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Plant.

This conspiracy theory ignores the power of the mass worker protest movement that emerged. Such a movement is dangerous to the Ukrainian oligarchy at large. Here, in the face of a mass labour movement, the ruling class is consolidaring; only mass organized labour can destroy Ukraine’s model of oligarchic capitalism. That is why it is not the conflict between Ukrainian oligarchs that is important for us in our analysis, but the level of organisation and the activities of the democratic labour movement, embraced by independent trade unions across Ukraine.

Krivoy Rog is the birthplace of the current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who received record support from voters in the presidential and parliamentary elections in his hometown. The miners of Krivoy Rog had reason to count on Zelenskyi’s support for their demands. However, both Zelensky and the President’s office distanced themselves from the miners. And, at meetings between the striking miners and members of parliament from Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, the miners were asked to express their distrust of their trade union leaders, who had initiated the strike.

Moreover, Ukrainian authorities did not take any steps to protect the striking miners from repression by the administration of the Krivoy Rog Iron Ore Plant. The administration of the KZhRK began posting personal data on the underground striking miners on social networks, and according to the information of the Ukrainian MP Mykhaylo Volynets, the apartment of one of the underground striking miners‘ apartment was burgled. “In fact, the head of the plant acted as a gunner for the ‘domushniki’ (burglars),” said Volynets.

“Workers who are underground feel inhuman physical and moral pressure… But there is an assumption that the president faces even more pressure from the oligarchs. I think that both owners are asking him not to interfere in the situation, because that would show that the protesters are right, and the situation will change significantly”, says Vitaliy Dudin, head of the legal department of the All-Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi” (“Labour Protection”).

The situation is developing dynamically and every day brings news. But the fact that the Krivoy Rog miners strike has resonated around the world excites and encourages us. Every class struggle gives Ukraininan workers invaluable experience. Global workers’ solidarity is no longer an abstract ideal, but a very concrete reality for workers in Ukraine. Ukrainian workers thank their comrades all over the world for their unprecedented showing of support. There are still many battles ahead for true democracy and labour rights. Thes fights have been, are, and will be international.

Oleg Vernik is Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi” (“Labour Protection”).

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.