Flowers outside the burned-out Trade Union House in Kiev. Photo: KVPU
A five-point union solidarity plan for Ukraine
On Monday, trade unionists from across Europe, including the TUC, expressed solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and especially the Ukrainian trade unions who reported on the situation they faced, at the Pan-European Regional Council of the ITUC in Brussels.
Together, they issued a call for a peaceful, efficient and socially-acceptable way out the crisis in Ukraine, pointing to the years of irresponsible policy-making, unaccountable economic management and systematic disregard of rights and freedoms.
The five point plan calls for:
de-escalation of tensions, respect for the Ukrainian Constitution, territorial integrity and withdrawal of all armed forces;
free and fair elections to shift to a genuine democratic political system, respect for the rights of all, and investigation of all acts of violence, illegal appropriation of public money and abuse of public office;
economic assistance packages from the EU and international financial institutions, with a strong warning to avoid the discredited austerity approach pushed on EU member states by the ‘troika’;
social dialogue with the guarantee that workers’ rights will be respected; and
support for efficient and affordable public services, including priority for stability measures.
ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said:
“This plan gives a clear pathway out of crisis and towards the kind of economy and society that the people of Ukraine want and deserve. Political leaders and the European and global institutions need to start work urgently on fulfilling their responsibilities to avoid further turmoil and help Ukraine to get on the right track.”
Meanwhile, public sector unions in Ukraine have requested assistance to help them to re-build Trade Union House, the headquarters of the FPU (national union confederation), burnt down on 19 February during the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. The building on Maidan square also housed several trade union offices. European and global public sector unions will directly contribute to the restoration of the trade union premises, and are calling on unions to show generosity in order to help the trade unions to live up to the many challenges they now face.