Ukraine: Sign for the veto of bill No. 5371

This is an urgent call, since the approval of anti-worker laws is imminent.

By Oleg Vernyk

Appeal to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, from: Ukrainians of the «Zahist Pratsi» Independent Trade Union, legislators, leaders and activists of the world labor and trade union movement.

On July 19, 2022, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) finally voted on the anti-worker and anti-union bill No. 5371. In Ukraine’s most difficult situation of the military aggression by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian Parliament, headed by the ruling neoliberal faction of the Servant of the People party, committed a blatant act that undermined the basic democratic principles of Ukrainian labor, attacking the social and labor rights and freedoms of Ukrainian workers. The principal blame in this situation lies with the head of the profiling committee on social policy and veterans, the hateful Galina Tretyakova (Servant of the People faction).

This bill took employees of companies with less than 250 employees out of the scope of the Labor Code of Ukraine. These companies in Ukraine account for more than 80% of all companies. This law against the people deprived the employees of these companies of the opportunity to enter into collective bargaining agreements with their employers, transferring the entire scope of labor regulation to individual employment contracts. Collective labor contracts, in accordance with the current labor legislation of Ukraine, are established by the trade unions, authorized labor collectives and the employers.

The destruction of collective labor agreements for the overwhelming majority of Ukrainian companies is not only blatant neoliberal anarchy in relation to contracted labor, but also a violation of a number of international conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO). This will also be an impetus for employers to divide large companies as much as possible into many smaller ones, in order to remove them also from the scope of the Labor Code and reliable state protection of the labor rights of employees. We are well aware that the content of individual employment contracts in a situation of mass unemployment caused by the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine will depend solely on the will of the employer and the workers will be forced in the current situation to accept any, even the most draconian and inhuman, working conditions. Furthermore, employers have the right to terminate individual employment contracts at any time without explanation.

This bill deprives Ukrainian unions of the opportunity to block the dismissal of workers and union activists fighting for workers’ rights in their companies. Now any attempt to protect the labor rights of employees will be immediately sanctioned with dismissals of labor activists, where unions will be deprived of the right to protect them. The International Trade Union Confederation has already opposed this bill.

Article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine clearly indicates that in amending existing laws, it is not allowed to restrict the content and scope of existing rights and freedoms. However, the oligarchic clients of this bill did not care about the requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution and the rights of Ukrainian citizens, salaried workers.

We urgently demand that the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky intervene decisively in this situation and veto this so-called “Law on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts to Simplify the Regulation of Labor Relations in the Field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Reduce the Administrative Burden on business activity” voted by the Parliament of Ukraine. The current Ukrainian government must immediately put an end to the policy of continuous attacks on the labor and social rights of the citizens of Ukraine and instead recall that, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, it is a social state that is committed to protecting the full range of rights of its citizens, including social and labor aspects.

This resource is open for signatures, which should be sent to Mr. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, St. Bankova 11, Kyiv at email: / with copy to