Trade unions to picket government weekly from May 27
The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and other trade unions will begin a series of pickets against the Cabinet of Ministers from May 27 aimed at increasing wages, paying wage arrears and forcing the government to hold a dialog with society.
"We start public mass actions. We plan to hold three pickets of the Cabinet of Ministers: first on May 27, second on June 3 and third on June 10," Deputy Head of the Federation of Trade Unions Serhiy Kondratiuk said at a press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday.
He said that three key goals have been set: the urgent submission of proposals to increase wages from July 1 by the cabinet; forcing the government to start settlement arrangements as part of the national collective labor dispute; and preventing anti-social ideas being included in the national budget of 2016.
Kondratiuk said that the current subsistence wage of UAH 1,218 is 60% less than the level set in Ukrainian law, which is confirmed by the calculations if the Social Policy Ministry. He said that the subsistence wage in the country should exceed UAH 3,500 a month, although the government refuses to hold social dialog to revise standards.
He said that the scale of poverty is hidden deliberately, and wage arrears that reached UAH 2 billion to over 500,000 employees violates Constitutional rights.
"The anti-state policy towards [the] workforce kills the economy and does not allow [for] restoring social peace in the country," Kondratiuk said.
He said that the Ukrainian trade unions recently received support in Brussels from the International Trade Union Confederation, and Confederation General Secretary Sharan Burrow is planning to visit Ukraine to meet the president and prime minister. It is expected that the International Labour Organization inspectors will also travel to Ukraine. Their visit will concern the non-fulfillment of conventions ratified by Ukraine, including wage payments.
"We had to go to the streets, as social dialog does not work. The settlement arrangements under Ukrainian law also do not work. It is better to have civilized protests than acts of social disobedience and blocking roads," he said.
He said that trade unions decided against holding mass actions: around 1,500 people will take part in the first pickets, however if the government does not agree to dialog, the number of protesters could grow exponentially.