The Ukrainian Constitution prohibits to use coercive labor.


Citizen S. Denshchuk turned to the Nikopol district court with the claim against the administration of the enterprise, where the claimant works. Denshchuk considers illegal the decision of the administration that ruled to use a high-skilled professional for sweeping snow.

S. Denshchuk is the head of the independent trade union at the Nikopol plant of ferroalloys (NPF). The claimant is represented in the trial by V. Kornienko, the deputy head if the Nikopol organization of Rukh (UNR), a member of the independent trade union at Pivdennotrubny plant.

The ‘Prava ludyny’ editorial board considers that this case may become an important precedent not only for those, who protect human rights, but for all working people, who lately, as in the Soviet times, frequently get to similar situations. That is why we decided to publish Denshchuk’s writ and to inform our readers about the further development of this case.


Plaintiff: Sergiy Denshchuk
Defendant: Administration of the joint-stock company ‘NZF’.

on canceling the order and recompensing of the moral damage. The compensation sum – Hr 5000.

I work as a worker of the furnace in the joint-stock company ‘Nikopol palnt of ferroalloys’ since 1997. On 28 December 2000 in order No. 185 the shop superintendent diminished my wages for December by 20%, allegedly for a brutal violation of item 3.1 of the shop rules, namely for my refusal on 21 December 2000 to sweep the snow, according to ‘The plan of removing the snow...’ signed on 26 September 2000 by the chief engineer of the plant without the agreement with the independent trade union of the plant.

I do not agree that I have violated any rules, since Article 43 of the Ukrainian Constitution reads: ‘the use of coercive toil is forbidden’, and, according to item 12 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine No. 9 of 1 November 1999, a coercive toil is defined as any work not envisaged in the labor contract, provided that a worker disagrees to fulfil the work. I had enough reasons to disagree, which will be described below. Thus, starting from items 5 and 12 of the above-mentioned Resolution, the legality of the ‘The plan of removing the snow...’ is very doubtful, whereas order No. 815 is obviously illegal.

The size of the compensation was determined by me with the account of part 3 of Article 11 of the Civil-Procedural Code of Ukraine and basing on the fact that the minimal size of moral compensation is determined by part 2 of Article 440-1 of the Civil Code as five minimal wages and accounting of such factors aggravating the guilt of the administration:

It is quite obvious that the administration perpetually, consciously and purposefully exerts pressure on myself because I had not sold my share, resist arbitrary actions of the administration and initiated the creation of the independent trade union, which I headed. For this the administration has already tried to illegally punish me four times. The three previous orders the administration had to cancel, since I turned to court.

The administration clearly ordered to send to the cold nobody but me. This is irregular and proves the biased attitude of the administration. Up to now foremen got the order to send a definite number of people, and then they made a personal choice.

On 21 December 2000 the administration knew very well that I had just came to work after a disease, so the work outdoor was harmful for me.


Article 43 of the Constitution of Ukraine; item 12 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine No. 9 of 1 November 1999;


•  To cancel order No. 185 of 28 December 2000.
•  To recompense the moral damage by the sum of Hr 5000.

The administration recompensed the claimant his wages after he handed the writ to court, thus acknowledging that their actions were illegal. The case is still not considered because of the overload of the court.

During the talk with Vladimir Kornienko we learned that similar attitude to the Independent trade union was observed at Nikopol Pivdennotrubny plant during the creation of the trade union 2-3 years ago. Yet, lately the attitude has improved, the administration understood that the trade unions movement is a serious and lasting matter.

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