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Human rights in Ukraine – 2006. XV. Some aspects of labour rights

   

[1]

Among the most pressing problems in Ukraine with the right to work are owed wages, unemployment and remuneration for people’s work.

An analysis of court practice and of the issues which most often lead to labour disputes highlights a range of other problems which need to be resolved. These include breaches of work contracts or other agreements, primary trade union organizations not being allowing to take part in collective bargaining and to conclude collective agreements, late payment of wages or final settlement when leaving a job, wrongful dismissal, as well as non-payment of compensation for unused leave. 

1. The right to fair remuneration

The artificially reduced cost of labour in Ukraine is a legacy of the Soviet planned economy with its low wages. In Soviet times, however, this was compensated for by the wide scope of consumption areas which were distributed via the so-called social consumption funds, via subsidies on housing and communal, sanatorium and resort services, a large number of consumer items, free medical care and education. The low wages were accompanied by just as low, strictly regulated, prices on goods and services.

The move to a market economy destroyed the system of subsidies and, to a large extent, the social consumption funds. However the wish to restrain competition on the world market in conditions of high consumption of energy and materials has led to the retention of low wages. This is at present an important factor for the competitiveness of Ukrainian goods. However it’s impossible not to notice that the low cost of labour is to an even greater extent an insurmountable barrier against increasing productivity of labour and leads to an exodus of the most active layers of society abroad. High social transfers are not possible without proper wages. This means that wages being at a low level is a poverty factor not only for the working population, but for those in society unable to work. All of this is restraining the development of the domestic market. Under the present process of integration we will not be able to gain a qualified labour force within the country without radically increasing wages which should become the main motivating force for labour.[2]

The lack of alternative to rejecting a destructive model of competitiveness based on a cheap labour force is also linked with the fact that cheap labour can only be used in conditions of deep crisis and at the initial stages of the formation of a market economy. Later it is without prospects and almost no country has achieved serious success and increase in the nation’s prosperity through using it.

The divide according to these parameters between countries which use “cheap” or “expense” labour is only widening. Without questioning the need to synchronize an increase in wages with the rate of growth in labour productivity, one should note that this criterion cannot nonetheless be used blindly. Already seriously behind Central and Eastern European countries in terms of GNP per worker (labour productivity), we are lagging still further in level of wages. This means that the indicator which in Soviet times was deemed the level of exploitation of hired workers, in today’s Ukraine is much higher than all its neighbours, except maybe Bulgaria.

Specialists estimate that wages, even taking into account social deductions into the remuneration fund stand at a little more than 8% of the value of domestic products.  An increase in wages by 30% will only help increase this figure by 2%. Thus, even if wages were to become several times higher, this would not bring about an economic catastrophe.

One can clearly see the problem of cheap labour in the wages paid miners in the East of Ukraine. The Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region carried out monitoring over adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine)[3]

 

Miners’ family income  

Average statistic indicators for the average wages of miners at the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine in 2006.[4]

The majority of underground workers, not counting engineering – technical personnel, earn monthly wages in UAH of between 2,793 and 1,301.  Of the roughly 850 men in this category, 221 received wages of 2,793 UAH and 157 earned 2,165 UAH.  Just over 200 men earned 1,736 and 1,974.  188 earned just over 1,300.

Around 300 people were working as loaders; on repair and construction teams or providing electrical and mechanical services, as guards, stokers and others.  Their wages were considerably lower with the highest earned by 88 loaders being 957 UAH per month, and the lowest – staff of a kindergarten – 469 UAH.

Table 1

In total for the mine:   Average wages in UAH

1,212 men were involved in extracting the coal    1640 

804 were other workers underground    2064

1,396 counting engineering – technical personnel   1720

123 engineering – technical personnel underground 2244

65 engineering – technical personnel at ground level   912

1625 in total for the mine  1548

 

Over 500 workers of the mine earn less than 600 UAH. Of these almost none receives State subsidies on communal charges.

 

Table 2

Miners’ outgoings

Normative figures for a minimum consumer basket calculated for persons not working (pensioners) in market prices as of 15 January 2007 (Zorinsk)[5]

Commodity

Monthly consumption norm

kilo/litre/item

Price in UAH

Cost of the monthly consumption norm per person

Meat and meat products

4,13

35,0

144,55

Milk and milk products

19,41

10,0

194,10

Animal fat

4,23

16,0

67,68

Eggs

21,18

0,35

7,41

Fish

1,32

18,0

23,76

Potatoes

7,49

2,80

20,97

Vegetables

8,84

8,35

73,81

Fruit and berries

5,04

7,38

37,20

Bread

7,79

2,5

19,48

Vegetable oil

0,62

6,0

3,72

Sugar

2,35

3,3

7,76

In total:

 

 

600,44

 

Table 3

Calculated figures for the energy consumption (in calories) according to types of work in market prices at 15 January 2007 (Zorinsk)[6]

Type of work

 

Energy requirements in kilocalories

Cost of monthly consumption in UAH

Pensioners not working

1900

600,44

People engaged in mental work

2800

884,86

Light physical labour

3000

948,06

Medium physical labour

3200

1011,27

Particularly hard physical labour

3700

1169,28

Full-time work underground in Donbas conditions

4300

1358,89

 

If one takes a three-person mining family: husband, wife and child or teenager, then simply on proper nourishment adequate for reproductive purposes, the following amounts per month (in rounded figures) would be needed:

Husband

1360

Wife

950

Child / teenager

1140*

In total:

3450

* According to the method handbook on calculating the subsistence minimum issued by the Ministry of Labour from  17.05.2000 № 109/95/157, the cost of the consumer basket for a teenager is 1.2 times higher than average.

Keeping to the proportions of basic outgoings, as defined in the method handbook, we can say that the cost of non-food items for a family (on average, bearing in mind yearly seasonal expenses on clothes, footwear, repairs to the flat, linen, crockery, furniture, toiletries etc) come to 3450, divided by 3 being 1,150 UAH per member of the family.

The cost of housing and communal services for a family living in a two-room flat with an electric cooker (using the new tariffs) consists of the following: heating – 240 UAH; rent: 60 UAH; cold water and drainage – 35 UAH; hot water – 30 UAH; electricity – 50 UAH.[7]  Total outgoings on housing and communal services thus come to 415 UAH.

Overall then, the outgoings for a family of three can be broken down as follows:

-  food   – 3450 UAH.

- other commodities  – 1150 UAH

- housing and communal services  – 415 UAH.

Altogether the family spending comes to 5,015 UAH.

If the miner’s wife also works, which is unlikely in Zorinsk, she receives around 650 UAH.

This brings the total income with 1550 + 650 to 2200 UAH.

Shortfall in the family budget – 2,815 UAH.

The figures here give grounds for asserting that the income of a miner from Zorinsk not only fails to provide for his family, but cannot even guarantee him the minimum subsistence level – the full amount of calories required, payment for communal services, for heating his home, electricity, water, gas, sanitation, rent, and basic necessities.

One should note that overall the actual tariffs in coal enterprises in the Luhansk region on the basis of which the real wages fund is formed are much lower than those established by law. In addition, discriminatory practice was also identified (as the “creative input” of local “coal barons”) when at one and the same mine a higher tariff (although lower than that fixed by law) is set only for the main workers (drillers and tunnel diggers) as a special privilege.

"The State-guaranteed", i.e. legally established tariff (minimum wages) for first category workers in the coalmining industry over the last two years were:

from 01.01.05  - 262 UAH

from 01.04.05 – 290 UAH.

from 01.07.05 – 310 UAH.

from 01.09.05 – 332 UAH.

from 01.01.06 – 350 UAH.

from 01.07.06 – 375 UAH.

from 01.01.07 – 400 UAH.

from 01.04.07 – 420 UAH

The actual level of tariff rates in the mines is lower than that established by law due to the supposed difficult economic situation of the enterprises. The “official” coalmining union in such cases always takes an obsequious (opportunistic) stand supporting the interests not of the workers,  but of the employers who traditionally are supposed to “not have enough” money to pay a decent wage. This is clearly seen in the following table[8]:

Table 4

State enterprises

Term for establishing the tariff on the enterprise

Minimum wages

Tariff for main professions

Tariff for other professions

«Sverdlovantratsyt»

01.03.07

400

400(480)*

375

«Luhansk coal»

01.01.07

400

400(480)

290

«Antratsyt»

01.03.07

400

400(480)

290

«Donbasantratsyt»

01.01.07

400

400(480)

290

«Krasnodon coal»

01.02.07

400

400(480)

400

«Rovenkyatratsyt»

01.12.06

375

375(450)

375

«Pervomaisk coal”

01.04.07

400

400(480)

400

«Lysychansk coal»

01.01.07

400

400(480)

290

*the figure in brackets is the size of the tariff which should have been imposed taking into consideration the coefficient 1,2 – according to 2.2 of the General Agreement.

At one of the most successful enterprises – the State enterprise “Krasnodonugol” which then became the open joint stock company “Krasnodonvuhillya” [“Krasnodon coal”], an analysis was carried out of how minimum guarantees on wages had been followed since 1999.  This confirmed infringements of labour legislation over the entire period from 1999 to 2007.

As a result, workers of all coal mining enterprises do not receive a considerable part of their wages, and accordingly a smaller amount is paid into the Pension fund and the State budget.

In order to resolve this problem, the Independent Trade Union of Miners of the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine registered a labour dispute regarding non-receipt in full of minimum guarantees of remuneration.  Labour arbitration took place, with Protocol No. 3 of the arbitration hearing registering the consideration of a collective labour dispute between workers of the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine, the State enterprise “Luhanskvuhillya” [“Luhansk coal”] (Zorinsk) and the General Director of  “Luhanskvuhillya” (city of Luhansk) (№018-06/12-Y from 04.08.2006.). However there has been no positive judgment.

After numerous appeals from the Independent Trade Union of Miners of the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine and the Confederation of Free Trade Unions to remove this infringement of labour legislation, an agreement was signed on 17 November 2006 between the Ministry of the Coal Industry and the Trade Union of the Coal Industry. This agreement envisages approval of tariff rates and pay calculated on the basis of a minimum wage of 400 UAH, taking into consideration the General and Branch Agreements from 1 June 2007.

This agreement was discriminatory in nature since the plan was to approve tariffs for drillers and tunnel diggers based on calculated on the basis of the minimum wage in stages, beginning from 1 January 2007 up till 1 June 2007, while auxiliary workers were to have the increases of tariffs in stages beginning on 1 April 2007.  The Confederation of Free Trade Unions appealed against the agreement as being discriminatory, and in February some workers from «Donbastratsyt», the Izvestia and the Knyahyninsk Mines, under the leadership of independent trade unions held protest strikes underground, refusing to come up to the surface. As a result a decision was taken to approve tariffs and payment to workers of «Donbasantratsyt» from 1 April 2007 on the basis of a minimum wage of 400 UAH, yet once again without using the coefficient of 1,2 foreseen in the General Agreement.[9]

With respect to unemployment in Ukraine, the official statistics of government employment centres tell us that as of 1 January 2007 there were 0.8 million people on their books unemployed and seeking work, of whom more than a third were younger people up to the age of 35.  Half of them live in rural areas. Among these people almost half (45.4%) had previously been manual workers, while a quarter (27.0%) held a civil servant position, and almost the same number did not have vocational training (27,6%). 97.3% of those unemployed had received official unemployed status on the date mentioned.[10]

However it is important to note one interesting detail. In employment centres at present there are over 2 million unfilled vacancies, with the real figure even higher, while, as mentioned above, there are more than 800 thousand unemployed. Admittedly, in only 5% of the cases do the vacant positions offer wages of more than one thousand UAH per month, with 70% offering less than 500 UAH., According to the Deputy Director of the Institute of Demography and Social Research Ms Lbianova, ““These vacancies will never be filled since people quite justifiably are not going to work for such peanuts. In Ukraine at present we don’t have a problem with unemployment in the traditional way this is understood in prosperous countries. The problem of unemployment here is levelled out and turned into absolutely pitiful and degrading earnings”[11] This is backed up by representative of the International Labour Organization V. Kostrytsa who states: “Most newly-created jobs are not high-quality with 60 percent of them offering less than 345 UAH a month. By offering unemployed people jobs with low wages, we can’t claim to be providing them with worthy employment”.[12]

Only in 2002 did the average salary in the country reach the subsistence level for able-bodied individuals, while the minimum wage has still not been able to reach this. As a result there is an incredible situation where the risk of poverty is effectively not dependent on whether or not there are people working in the family. 80% of poor families have at least one person working. Therefore employment is no guarantee against poverty.

The result is obvious: a large part of the population wants to go abroad using any means, and the number of young people with a higher education is falling. In international terms as far as our indicators for education of the population are concerned, we still look respectable enough, however this is only thanks to older age groups. In the employment structures only the percentage of simplest jobs is steadily rising while the percentage of types of qualified work (with the exception perhaps of people in retail, high-level civil servants and managerial levels) is falling inexorably.[13]

The main directions of government impact on the level of wages should lie in increasing the level of State sector workers’ pay; introducing a full-scale tariff net (possibly with an extension at the same time of the social package); taking part in social dialogue at the level of negotiations on branch tariff agreements and collective contracts; compensation for employers’ spending on targeted training of qualified workers and construction of temporary accommodation.

At the same time, the problem is intensifying of wage indebtedness which has become a chronic malaise in Ukraine. According to figures from the State Committee of Statistics, the amount of wages owed at 1 December 2006 were 3.7%, or 35.8 million UAH, higher than the figures for the beginning of the year, coming to 996.1 million UAH, or 7.7% of the remuneration fund calculated for November 2006 for all employees.

Table 6.

Changes in indebtedness against wages in 2005 – 2006

(as of the 1st day of each given month)[14]

Pay owed to employees of working enterprises between January and November 2006 increased by 3.9%, or by 15.1 million UAH, and at 1 December stood at 477.2 million UAH, or 47.9% of the entire wages debt. Among the types of economic activity involved, the largest increases in the amount of unpaid wages were seen in the manufacturing industry – by 43.8 million UAH, in organizations carrying out operations with real estate – by 22 million UAH, at machine and equipment plants – by 20 million UAH.  From the point of view of regions, a rise in debt at working enterprises was observed in 16 regions, with the highest rates in the Kharkiv region (2.9 times higher), the Ivano-Frankivsk region (2.8 times higher) and in the Transcarpathian region where the figure was up 2.8 times.

Overall, out of each 100 UAH not paid out by working enterprise, 45 were owed employees of industrial enterprises, 12 –  by organizations carrying out operations with real estate, another 11 by agricultural enterprises. At the beginning of December 2006, 347.5 people, or 3.1 percent of the total number of workers had not received their pay on time. The amount of debt on average per worker at 1 December 2006 came to 1,099 UAH, which is almost on the level of the average monthly pay for November 2006. An increase by 12.4% in debt owed in unpaid wages during January – November 2006 was also seen at bankrupt enterprises. At enterprises which had suspended production or economic work (economically inactive), a decrease was observed in debt against wages of 19.5%.

Just in Chernihiv region over 9 months of 2006 the regional prosecutor’s office launched 48 criminal investigations over infringements of legislation on remuneration. 308 other prosecutor’s measures were also taken on these issues.  Proceedings were launched against 220 public officials. In civil proceedings 493 claims were lodged with the region’s courts to retrieve money owed. Millions of UAH were ordered in compensation.[15]  In the same region between January and August 2006 the State Labour Inspectorate checked 7 enterprises owing wages. The debt in unpaid wages at those enterprises came to 171.7 thousand UAH, with the time the money had been owed from between one to ten months.  According to the results of the inspection, 7 protocols on administrative offences were drawn up and submitted to the court against the  managers of the following: the State enterprises “RESSKIlion”, “AhaSna” and “Ahat-mriya”, the open joint stock company ”Ahat”, the agricultural LLC “Poliske,  the construction association “Raiaglobud” and others”[16]

In December 2006 teachers from the Kulykivske Secondary School in the Chernihiv region held a protest strike and picket outside the district State administration. They were protesting against the delays in receiving their salary which had begun in 2006. Immediately prior to the action, the teachers had received pay only for September. After the strike they were also paid for October. Nobody could tell them when they would receive their pay for November and December. The teachers were also outraged by the fact that despite this the authorities had found the money to buy flats which were not cheap for some functionaries. In general non-payment of salaries has again raised its head in many districts of the region. As of 13 November the region’s teachers were owed 13 million 881 thousand UAH, including 901 thousand in the small Kulykivske district. The local budgets dimply don’t have the money, and funding for education was planned only for around three quarterly periods.[17]

In the Ivano-Frankivsk region during 11 months of 2006 the prosecutor’s office launched 110 criminal investigations over non-payment of wages, where the debt stood at 9.6 million UAH. Of these 52 investigations were against public officials who were alleged to have deliberately allowed the debt to arise on payments even though there were funds which had been used for other purposes.[18]

The problem with wages owed is particularly acute in mining regions. Late payment of wages and accumulated debt are chronic there with even State controlling agencies acknowledging this. They note that the articles of the Labour Code pertaining to timely payment of wages are constantly being infringed. The following figures from the Luhansk region can serve as confirmation of this.[19]

Table 7

Information

on infringements uncovered by the Luhansk region  Territorial State Labour Inspectorate of the General Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers, the All-Ukrainian associations of employers’ and business organizations and All-Ukrainian trade unions and trade union associations for 2004-2005 and the Branch Agreement in the Luhansk region as of 01.08.2006.[20]

City / district

Article 95 § 1 of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine (CLLU)

General Agreement (remuneration)

Article 97 of the CLLU

Both Article 97 of the CLLU and the General Agreement

7 months of  2005 р.

7 m. 2006

difference

7 m. 2005.

7 m. 2006.

difference

7 m 2005.

7 m 2006.

difference

7 m 2005.

7m. 2006.

difference

 

Antratsytivsky district

2

1

-1

 

 

0

1

 

-1

1

0

-1

Bilovodsky district

14

11

-3

1

 

-1

22

20

-2

23

20

-3

Bilokurakynsky district

1

0

-1

 

1

1

2

1

-1

2

2

0

Krasnodonsky district

3

1

-2

3

5

2

2

5

3

5

10

5

Kreminsky district

7

2

-5

8

1

-7

11

4

-7

19

5

-14

Lutyhinsky district

4

2

-2

2

1

-1

 

1

1

2

2

0

Archevsk  

17

10

-7

 

5

5

19

8

-11

19

13

-6

Antratsyt

3

2

-1

3

1

-2

9

1

-8

12

2

-10

Bryanka

11

11

0

4

6

2

14

8

-6

18

14

-4

Kriovsk

2

1

-1

1

 

-1

2

 

-2

3

0

-3

Krasny Luch

1

10

9

3

8

5

14

13

-1

17

21

4

Krasnodon

6

4

-2

7

9

2

3

5

2

10

14

4

Lysychansk

15

2

-13

4

8

4

20

14

-6

24

22

-2

Luhansk

38

33

-5

14

17

3

40

29

-11

54

46

-8

Pervomaisk

10

4

-6

 

5

5

17

9

-8

17

14

-3

Rovenky

9

1

-8

6

7

1

3

 

-3

9

7

-2

Rubizhne

1

9

8

8

4

-4

 

1

1

8

5

-3

Sverdlovsk

5

2

-3

 

3

3

3

11

8

3

14

11

Severodonetsk

3

5

2

1

1

0

12

11

-1

13

12

-1

Stakhanov

1

3

2

1

4

3

9

11

2

10

15

5

Markivsky district

11

9

-2

2

4

2

10

3

-7

12

7

-5

Novoyaidarsky district

19

8

-11

11

11

0

27

12

-15

38

23

-15

Novopskovsky district

5

4

-1

1

1

0

15

5

-10

16

6

-10

Perevalsky district

1

0

-1

2

4

2

4

 

-4

6

4

-2

Polasnyansky district

1

0

-1

 

1

1

1

 

-1

1

1

0

Svyativsky district

19

4

-15

7

3

-4

24

3

-21

31

6

-25

Slavyanovserbsky district

1

9

8

 

4

4

3

1

-2

3

5

2

Stanychno-Luhansky district

13

3

-10

1

2

1

12

3

-9

13

5

-8

Starobilsky district

18

8

-10

1

15

14

22

3

-19

23

18

-5

Troitsky district

14

6

-8

 

 

0

14

3

-11

14

3

-11

Millovsky district

2

9

7

 

4

4

2

 

-2

2

4

2

Total

257

174

-83

91

135

44

337

185

-152

428

320

-108

 

According to figures from the Ministry and other executive bodies, in the educational institutions under their control the debt against student grants and funding for students, cadets and school students rose by 0.2% during November and at 1 December 2006 stood at 858.3 thousand UAH which marks a drop of 5.4%, or 48.8 thousand UAH against the analogous figure for 1 December 2005.

All these indicators demonstrate the severity of the problem as seen also in cases where Ukrainians have filed suits with the courts over wages owed and won them.

An example can be seen in the claim brought by doctors from the Chortkiv Central District Hospital against the hospital administration over non-payment of expenses for work-related trips and specialization courses. A State programme is underway in Ukraine for moving to the model of family medicine .based on the key role of the family doctor – a general practitioner. Despite the fact that the majority of doctors have specifically this qualification – doctor of general practice, for several years now all district doctors have had to go on six-month “retraining” courses to become family doctors. At the same time the programme’s implementation is not covered by budgetary funding. The administrations as a rule refuse to pay expenses for the six months spent on the specialization courses, for living in hostels etc.

It was for this reason that seven doctors: T. Kvitko, O. Marushchak, A. Muzyka, Y. Prytula, I. Stepanenko, N. Tsymbala and S. Shulyak lodged a civil claim against the actions of the Chortkiv Central District Hospital. In 2006 they won their case in a first instance court, and then in February 2007 the Ternopil Court of Appeal upheld the initial ruling from the Chortkiv District Court.

Another problem is that there is no proper system of legal regulation for extracting money from the State Budget following decisions by State bodies to pay off indebtedness to employees of State institutions. This indebtedness, the size of which is not legislated, arose as a result of the lack of consistent State policy with regard to payment of wages to employees of State institutions built on the principle of providing different priorities depending on the political situation in the country. In this, neither the real paying  capacity of the budgets, nor the fact that current legislation did not envisage a system of registration for such indebtedness and stipulate the sources, time frame and order of their repayment.

These shortcomings, as well as the lack of State reporting and initial registration of rulings on these issues, have led to a loss of control by the government over the transparency of the process of deducting money and varying applications of norms of current legislation. All of this results in unlawful and inefficient spending from the State budget, as well as infringements of constitutional rights and civil liberties. These were the conclusions reached by the Board of the Accounting Chamber based on an audit.[21]

The State budget, as the Accounting Chambers auditors point out, also had extra expenses due to the use of different methods for registering and repaying debt than those foreseen by legislation. For example, in breach of Article 23 of the Budget Code of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence and the State Department for the Execution of Punishments dealt with their indebtedness for material property when transferring people to the reserves “at their own wish”, with compensation payments for non-issued material property not envisaged by budgetary allocations coming to 6.2 million UAH[22].

The State Judicial Administration introduced its own mechanism for repaying indebtedness to judges by approving a separate budgetary programme entitled “Enforcing court rulings for the benefit of judges”. This means that with the lack of recognition by the State via legislation of indebtedness in the area of remuneration for work and the lack of a register of such in the State Judicial Administration, the latter was designated as the source for repayment of non-existent budgetary obligations to judges for their rulings. This placed employees of the judiciary in a privileged position against other categories of employees of State sector institutions however it did not fully resolve the problem.  Furthermore, the introduction of such a mechanism for paying off indebtedness ran counter to budget legislation, the Law “On enforcement proceedings” and created conditions for the manual control by the State Judicial Administration of the process of designating budgetary allocations for the said purposes. The enforcement of court rulings was carried out by territorial divisions on the basis of administrative decisions by a central body, these stipulating the specific recipients of funding and the size of the budgetary allocations.[23]

In the course of monitoring labour rights in 2006 cases were also identified of “lawful” violation of the rights of workers to extract wages from enterprises in enforcement of court rulings.

For example, offices of the State Bailiffs’ Service suspend enforcement proceedings as regards extracting wages, referring to the norms of the Law “On measures aimed at safeguarding the stable functioning of the fuel and energy industry” from 23.06.05 № 2711-IV.

This is confirmed by the answers from the State Bailiffs’ Service office of the Sverdlovsk City Department of Justice in the Luhansk region from 12.04.2007 №3354, from the SBS of the city of Krasny Luch from 11.08.2006, №2-11/6387, and from the General Director of the State Enterprise “Dosbasantratsyt” from 27.02.2007  №1-1/354. The answers state that in accordance with Article 34, item 15 of the Law “On enforcement proceedings”, such proceedings shall be suspended in connection with the fact that from 28.11.2005 the State enterprises “Dosbasantratsyt” and “Sverdlovantratsyt” have been included in the register of enterprises of the fuel and energy complex and the participation of the enterprise is confirmed in the procedure for paying off debt in accordance with the Law ““On measures aimed at safeguarding the stable functioning of the fuel and energy industry” from 23.06.2005 №2711-1V. Cases where enforcement proceedings are suspended are carried out in accordance with decisions of the Krashnodon City District Court.

Human rights organizations believe that the norms of the Law “On measures aimed at safeguarding the stable functioning of the fuel and energy industry” do not give grounds for suspending enforcement proceedings to retrieve wages following court orders since this runs counter to Article 2 § 2 of the Law “On introducing a moratorium on the mandatory sale of property”. Nor in their view does the given law apply to debt against wages, since what are referred to here are debtor – creditor relations between different enterprises, and their inclusion onto a Register according to which the law provides a new means for paying off the enterprises’ indebtedness at the level of those relations. The law does therefore indeed provide new opportunities for improving the financial situation of enterprise debtors and swift settlement of their debts before their employees in owed wages. However the legislators have turned this around, and through Article 34, item 15 of the Law “On enforcement proceedings”, they have prohibited extracting owed wages from enterprises on the Register, according to the logic of the law, in order to improve the financial state of enterprises at the expense of miners’ family income.[24]

  The Law “On amendments to some legislative acts for ensuring timely payment of wages” No. 2103-IV, passed on 21 October 2004 amended Article 97 of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine [CLLU], Articles 15 and 24 of the Law “On remuneration” from 24.03.95 № 108/95-VR, and Article 2 of the Law “On introducing a moratorium on the mandatory sale of property” from 29.11.01 № 2864-III.

Article 97 of CLLU and Article 15 of the Law “On remuneration” state that: “Payment for the labour of employees of enterprises is first priority. All other payments shall be carried out by the owner or authorized representative of this body only after fulfilling commitments on payment of wages”.

Article 24 of the Law “On remuneration” reads: “The timely payment and size of wages may not be made dependent on executing other payments and their order of payment”.

Article 2 § 2 of the Law “On introducing a moratorium on the mandatory sale of property” states: “.an appeal to have property of a debtor seized on a writ of execution to be enforced by the State Bailiffs’ Service, aside from rulings with respect to payment of wages and other payments owed a worker in connection with labour relations”.

However the relevant amendments were not made to Article 34 of the Law “On enforcement proceedings” possibly because they were aimed at protecting the labour rights of employees.

Yet when the Verkhovna Rada was passing the Law “On measures aimed at safeguarding the stable functioning of the fuel and energy industry”, as pointed out above, the amendments were efficiently introduced to Article 34, item 15 of the Law “On enforcement proceedings”, according to their regrettable legal logic.

It should be noted that amendments were deliberately not made to Article 31 of the Law “On reinstating the solvency of enterprises or declaring them bankrupt” from 14.05.1992 № 2343-XII due to the amendments introduced on 21.10.2004 to Article 97 of CLLU and Articles 15 and 24 of the Law “On remuneration”.  From now on payment of wages in Article 31 of the Law “On reinstating the solvency of enterprises or declaring them bankrupt” is relegated to second place of importance except for 3 months.

However the fact that minimum guarantees of payment of wages have not been met for a long period has led to a massive accumulation of concealed indebtedness as a result of wages being calculated according to reduced rates. All State structures and puppet trade unions prefer to say nothing on this subject. There have consequently been protest actions in connection with this by miners.

For example, to do something about wages owed workers at the Krasnopolyivska Mine of the LLC private enterprise “Karat” in December 2006 united to form an Independent Trade Union of Miners of that mine and held a protest strike in the mine. As a result, the issue was resolved via the Economic Court of returning the Krasnopolyivska Mine to State ownership. The members of the Independent Trade Union had their owed wages paid in full however dismissed employees of the mine have still not received their money.

Infringements of labour rights are also seen in the use of a coefficient of labour input (CLI).in sharing out collective earnings. The norms on the distribution of CLI used at the enterprises monitoring run counter to Article 252-7 of the Code of Labour Laws: “the brigade may divide their collective earnings with the use of a coefficient of labour input. The coefficient for members of the brigade is approved by the collective at the submission of the brigade leader (council)”.

The present provisions, however, allow for the possibility of CLI being divided not only by the collective (or council of the brigade), but also by the boss of the unit or by foremen. Yet the legislation, as presented above, has entitled only the brigade collective to approve CLI.

The unlawfulness of one of these provisions was recognized by a court in considering a suit brought by employees of the Bilorichenska Mine.

Miners believe that the practice of reducing CLI for workers is often carried out without legitimate grounds, but rather for the arbitrary increase in the wages of certain privileged workers (brigade leaders, team liaison people) which are then probably shared out among foremen and bosses of the unit.  The study into the practice of using CLI gives grounds for believing that it is an anachronism from the Soviet distribution system which at one time was part of the “battle against levelling” but has now turned into a corrupt means of distributing workers income.[25]

 

2. The right to just, safe and healthy working conditions

From 2003 – 2006 the level of industrial accidents in Ukraine remained high. Despite an overall downward trend, the level actually rose in 5 regions, while in 13 regions an increase was recorded in cases of work-related illness. All this is the consequence of inadequate implementation of measures for preventing accidents, of a reduction in the funding of such measures and of the lack of interest in enterprises in improving their work safety record.

The number of industrial accidents fell by 8.1% in 2006 against 2005 however the number of fatal accidents only decreased by 0.8%, On the other hand the number of people suffering from work-related illnesses increased by 3.4% with the number of those causing the death of the patient rising by 36.8%

An analysis of industrial accidents in 2006 showed that the vast majority stemmed from organizational causes (77.9% of the total number); technical reasons (14,5%); and psychological – physiological causes (7,6%). The main types of accidents were falls (29,8%), incidents where something fell, crumbled or caved in, including earth (21,3%); where objects or parts of equipment moved, broke apart or turned over (19,7%); and road and transport accidents (6,9%). The highest rate of accidents in 2006 occurred at enterprises involved with coal mining, general construction, cultivation of crops, technical and other cultures, and black metallurgy.

Table 8

Industry safety in the national economy[26]

During 2006 6,751 miners were injured in coal mines, against 7,768 the previous year (a decrease of 1,017, or 13.1%). 168 people died, either as a result of accidents, or in the case of 26 miners from heart or vascular disease (this being 17.5 percent of the fatalities at the workplace). The number of fatal injuries had increased by 12 (168 against 156) or by 7.7% in comparison with 2005.  The percentage of fatal accidents in the coal industry came to 15.6% of the total number of fatal accidents in all parts of the workplace (1,076). This means that every sixth person who died at the workplace was a miner. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of industrial accidents at mines and in non-State owned enterprises which are not under the control of the Ministry of the Coal Industry. In 2006 the rate of injuries and fatalities at such enterprises came to 41.7 % in the field (70 out of 168 accidents). At the present time there are 184 non-State owned enterprises and 389 that are owned by the State in this field.

We are convinced that the downward trend is not a clear representation since a significant number of such cases remain concealed as a result of the active efforts of the enterprises’ administrations.

There has been no practical implementation of the relevant norms of the Law “On mandatory state social insurance against industrial accidents and occupational diseases which have caused disability” with regard to establishing reductions or additions to the size of insurance tariffs for businesses depending on the level of safety and of injuries.

None of the programs for improving the safety level, work conditions and the industrial environment financed by the Fund from 2002 – 2005 was implemented in full. The national programme for improving the safety level, work conditions and the industrial environment in 2001 – 2005 was only 47.1% implemented, in branch programmes – 29.8%. The programme for developing means for individual protection of workers – 64.3%. Untimely fulfilment of work, lengthy lack of implementation in the workplace of already completed scientific measures for preventing accidents led to their obsolescence and caused inefficient use of Fund spending amounting to 13 million UAH.

The Social Security Fund for Industrial Accidents carried out some of the duties vested with it only following court intervention. This applies, for example, to providing cars to people who were crippled at work and who are waiting in a queue for them. Over five years of the Fund’s work, only 2.3 percent of those waiting to receive a car have been able to exercise their right to this. In 2005 less than 20 percent of the planned 5.3 million UAH was actually used to provide for these needs. In comparison with previous years the figure had grown, but not thanks to an improvement in the work of the Fund, but largely because 52 vehicles had to be purchased following court rulings. They were also made to pay off their debt to the Pension Fund.

We would cite a typical example of a fatal industrial accident where those responsible were not punished and there was not even any just compensation.

There were several fatal accidents at work all around the same time in November 2006 at industrial plants in the district centre Horodnya in the Chernihiv region. On 8 November in the afternoon, at a subsidiary of “Resski-lion” (the Horodnya flax mill) a 45-year-old mechanic Yury Tyshchenko became caught up in a machine. He died because the person responsible for controlling the mechanism was not at his workplace. They pulled the body from the machine only after 48 hours. It so happened that Yury Tyshchenko, in almost a month at the job, had not been formally registered as an employee and his work record did not have the relevant stamp in it. The plant immediately began asserting that he hadn’t worked for them and had just turned up by chance. After conversations with the administration the witnesses also started giving muddled testimony. At present the prosecutor’s office is working on proving that Yury Tyshchenko was indeed a fully-fledged member of the team. There is a paradox in this story in that Yury Tyshchenko  is considered to have had unemployed status since he was registered with the employment centre and working at the same time. Therefore at present his family has no grounds for receiving material assistance from the Social Security Fund for Industrial Accidents [27]

In December 2006 the State Committee on Industrial Safety, Labour Protection and Mining Supervision criticized the Social Security Fund for Industrial Accidents and Work-related Illnesses for inefficiency. Its press service stated that one of the main tasks of the Fund should be to carry out preventive measures aimed at eliminating harmful and dangerous factors and avoiding accidents at the workplace. However, as had become clear, from the Fund’s budget for 2006 over the first 9 months only 1, 8 % of the planned funding had been allocated. Over the five years that the Fund had existed, its budget had tripled and came to almost 3 billion UAH, yet next year they were “planning” for an even greater number of victims, rather than preparing measures to prevent injuries at the workplace, the State Committee on Industrial Safety, Labour Protection and Mining Supervision asserted.

 

3. The activity of trade unions

It is also important to consider the activities of independent trade unions. One of their roles lies in achieving collective bargaining aimed at changing norms which worsen the situation of workers in comparison with current legislation.  There are workers in some enterprises who are daring to defend their constitutional right to protect their labour and socio-economic rights and interests by forming trade unions.

 

Table 9

All-Ukrainian trade unions and professional associations with legal status from the Ministry of Justice (as of 1 December)*

According to information from the Ministry itself

However trade union organizations which take a principled stand on defending the labour rights of their members immediately find themselves under severe pressure both from the employers, and from the “official” trade unions already present.

In 2006 the Ukrainian government received 9 information requests from the ILO. According to information from territorial State Labour Inspectorates, the checks found infringements of freedom of association as guaranteed by the ILO Convention No. 87 “Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize”[28]

When independent trade unions are being formed at an enterprise, the management and traditional trade unions jointly resort to repressive measures to stop them working and to lead to them dissolving.

Repeated appeals from the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of the Luhansk Region to the prosecutor’s office, the authorities and to labour inspectorates have been almost unable to change the situation.

In 2005 primary organizations were created at the Dolzhanska-Kapitalna Mine and the Chervony Partisan Mine of the State Enterprise “Sverdlovantratsyt”.  Up till now the traditional trade union at the Dolzhanska-Kapitalna Mine has not complied with the instructions of the prosecutor’s office to include the independent trade union of the same name on the united representative body for taking part in drawing up and passing a collective agreement, nor have they been provided with conditions for the work of an elected trade union body. The Sverdlovsk prosecutor’s office has not taken measures to implement its own instructions and is not reacting to reports from the Independent Trade Union of violations of labour legislation.[29]

The response of the territorial State Labour Inspectorate for the Luhansk region from 15.03.2007 №818/1 runs counter to norms of labour legislation. It states that the Independent Trade Union Dolzhanska-Kapitalna Mine, in concluding a collective agreement did not participate and did not join the functioning collective agreement. Therefore, it claims, the conditions of the collective agreement apply to the members of the Independent Trade Union as members of a work collective, but not as members of a trade union with which an agreement has been concluded. The mine administration thus has the right to refuse to provide it with a day to carry out civic work with retention of average wages as foreseen in Article 10 of the law “On trade unions, their rights and guarantees for their work” from 15.09.99 №1045-XIV. This is despite the fact that Article 35 of the Constitution states that “all trade unions have equal rights”.

Judgment of the Constitutional Court No. 14 rp/98 from 29 October 1998 confirmed that “the concept of a “trade union active at an enterprise, institution or organization” which is used in Article 43-1 § 1.6 of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine covers any trade union  (trade union organization) which, in accordance with the Constitution and laws of Ukraine is created at an enterprise, institution or organization on the basis of free choice of its members for the purpose of defending their labour and socio-economic rights and interests, regardless of whether such a trade union is a party to a collective contract or agreement”.

In July 2005 the Independent Trade Union 50th Anniversary of the USSR Mine in the city of Molodogvarkiysk of the open joint stock company Krasnodonvuhillya  was created. In breach of Article 12 of the Law “On trade unions, their rights and guarantees for their work”, the head of the mine administration lodged an application with the prosecutor’s office to have a criminal investigation launched against the head of this trade union A.P. Pokuziyev, claiming that the protocol of the statutory meeting stated that there had been more people present than had actually been the case.

A criminal investigation into an alleged breach of Article 94 § 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code was launched against Mr Pokuziyev on 26 December 2005, however up till now Mr Pokuziyev has not been shown the given resolution. After these actions by the prosecutor’s office and MIA investigators, the criminal investigation was twice suspended by investigators from the Krasnodon department of the MIA in the Luhansk region however the prosecutor’s office in Krasnodon cancelled the decisions to suspend it.

The answers from the Krasnodon MIA department from 1 February and 16 June 2006 confirm that the criminal investigation was not launched against Mr Pokuziyev, but over the actual breach. The summons sent to Mr Pokuziyev throughout 2006 also confirm that there are no criminal proceedings against him and that he is being called as a witness, not as a suspect.

Nonetheless, since 2005 and to the present day the mine administration are refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Independent Trade Union 50th Anniversary of the USSR claiming that a criminal investigation has not been terminated against Mr Pokuziyev at their application. This is linked with the fact that Mr Pokuziyev previously headed an independent trade union at the same mine, and that he is adamant in demanding that the norms of labour legislation are kept and has on many occasions sent reports on abuses of official position both with regard to management of the mine and to Krasnodonvuhillya .

This criminal investigation is an example of the unconcealed repression of a worker who has the dignity and courage to assert his rights and those of his colleagues. Even if the statutory documents when forming the independent trade union had been falsified, and this is not the case, are such actions so publicly dangerous as to be classified as a crime? Why is the prosecutor’s office so insistent on a criminal investigation? Perhaps this is because Krasnodonvuhillya regularly provides financial “contributions” to the prosecutor’s office (the independent trade union of the Barakov mine have documents in their possession confirming this)?

 

4. Participation by workers and their representatives in the management of an enterprise (organization, institution)[30]

Both the ILO Convention and the European Social Charter view participation by workers in the running of the organization as an important form of social dialogue. Such forms of dialogue can be negotiations, joint consultations and taking part in concluding collective agreements or contracts.

The procedure for collective bargaining, mechanisms for resolving disagreements arising during negotiations are regulated by ILO Convention No. 154 concerning the promotion of collective bargaining (ratified in 1981), Article 6 of the European Social Charter” and Articles 10 and 11 of the Law “On collective agreements and contracts”.

According to international standards, collective bargaining is carried out between employers or a group of employers, an organization or organizations of workers in order to determine the conditions of work and employment, as well as to regulate the relations between employers or their organizations and an organization or organizations of workers.

The current law “On collective agreements and contracts” does not clearly define the parties to collective bargaining and does not resolve the question of designating fully authorized representation of the parties, does not delineate adequately the aims, objectives and competence of separate levels, in particular branch and nationwide. The law does not allow for the right of workers’ representatives to hold collective bargaining if there are no trade unions or other authorized collective bodies.  .

It should be noted that there is no norm in Ukrainian legislation which obliges any of the parties to begin collective bargaining. In practice this has led to a situation whereby at State enterprises work on preparing a collective agreement is often late, while at private enterprises collective agreements are not, as a rule, made. At the latter there is often no trade union, and employees in conditions of rising unemployment, concerned about holding on to their jobs, do not raise the issue of concluding a collective agreement. The owner basically doesn’t have an interest in making such an agreement. All of this results in a limitation of workers’ rights.

Furthermore in current Ukrainian legislation there is no clear mechanism for exercising the right to collective bargaining, nor is there a minimum fine for not concluding a collective agreement or for not complying with it. The law does not envisage the right of dismissal for avoiding taking part in collective bargaining. At the same time, bringing proceedings against a person is still no guarantee that after this collective bargaining will begin. The law does not envisage the use of force to ensure the holding of collective bargaining and it therefore quite often happens that after proceedings are imitated, the collective agreement is not actually concluded.

The Administration of the Mariupol Illych metallurgic plant, represented by the head of the board on 20 12. 05 № 09/4626 refused to allow the independent trade union to enter into the bargaining process on making up a collective agreement. In its turn, the head of the old trade union in a letter from 21.12.05 р. № 6172 refused to allow the independent trade union to form a joint representative body at the plant, claiming that a collective agreement had been adopted back in 2001 and there was no need to adopt a new one or to add amendments to the collective agreement from 2001.

In Chernihiv a suit was filed against the administration of the Chernihiv Regional Shevchenko Musical and Dramatic Theatre. The claimants alleged pressure and persecution of members of the independent trade union seen in the publishing of reprimands and the dismissal of one employee. The court ruling that the order regarding the reprimands and the dismissal should be revoked. At the present time, however, the theatre administration is still refusing to take part in collective bargaining and is not allowing trade union representatives to see the existing collective agreement.

As a separate issue we would mention the problem of court rulings not being adhered to, either by the public authorities or by employers. For example, in Nikopol ( Dnipropetrovsk region), the management of the Nikopol Southern Pipe Plant in October 2006 refused to implement a court ruling allowing representatives of the independent trade union to take part in collective bargaining and sign a collective agreement.

An example of success in defending the right of workers to participate in management is provided by the First Children’s Theatre for children and young people. ’For the first time since Ukraine regained independence and since the new version of Article 45 of the Code of Labour Laws came into force, a primary trade union organization in Lviv succeeded in getting the head of the theatre dismissed on the basis of Article 45 of the Code which allows for the termination of a work contract with a manager at the request of an elective body of the primary trade union organization.  The demand for his dismissal was based on systematic violation of the rights of trade unions, in particular through not providing information about the social and financial activities of the theatre, refusing to take part in drawing up and signing a collective contract, as well as by persecuting workers over their membership of the trade union (declaring reprimands, taking away bonuses, etc).  

 

5. Hiring and firing[31]

The most common form of labour agreement is a contract for an indefinite period. Through these the State protects workers’ rights and promotes stability in labour relations. Of some concern, however, is the addition to Article 39 § 6 of the Law “On trade unions, their rights and guarantees for their work”, introduced on 13 December 2001. According to this, in cases where in the decision there is no justified refusal to agree to dismissal, an employer has the right to dismiss an employee. This generally negates the legal nature of provision of such consent by a primary trade union to the termination of a contract at the initiative of the employer since the concept of “justified refusal” is not set down in legislation and is therefore a value judgment. This attitude by the legislators is not warranted since the will of the trade unions in such cases with respect to not giving consent is clear. The decision of a trade union to not give consent can be withdrawn later at any time and the relative grounds added.

As a result, dismissals without this being agreed with the primary trade union occur in virtually every region.

At the present time a civil suit has been filed with the local Shevchenkivsky District Court in the Lviv region. Three teachers from a Lviv private school are appealing against unlawful dismissal and unlawfully low calculation of their pay guaranteed by Article 57 of the Law “On education”, payments for health treatment, for long service and compensation for loss of these payments.

 

6. The rights of labour migrants

Another important area is protection of the labour rights of people working abroad. Given that a considerable number of Ukrainian nationals are working in European countries there is an urgent need for Ukraine to ratify the European Convention on the legal status of migrant workers which Ukraine signed on 2 September 2004.  This Convention binds member states in accordance with international human rights agreements to respect and safeguard the rights of all labour migrants and members of their families while they are on their territory under their jurisdiction. Ratification of this Convention will heighten legal and social protection for Ukrainian nationals living and working in countries of the Council of Europe in accordance with the legislation of the receiving country. Labour migrants and members of their families will enjoy a number of rights, namely:

-  The right to accept real job offers;

-  The right to freely move about for this purpose around the territory of member States of the Council of Europe;

-  The right to be in one of the countries of the member States of the Council of Europe, to work there in accordance with legislation regulating employment of nationals of that country;

-  The right to remain on the territory of one of the Contracting Parties after the conclusion of the labour activities on the conditions  agreed by the Contracting Parties;

-  Migrant workers from member states of the EU have the same right to receive assistance from employment services of the receiving countries as nationals of that county seeking work. Special procedure may be established for employment of migrant workers, for example in registering with employment services.

-  In their labour relations migrant workers shall have equal rights with workers of the receiving country. Work contracts imposing discriminatory conditions are not valid.

-  Labour migrants shall have the right to take up paid employment in another country together with members of their family on condition that the necessary living circumstances are provided, and in certain circumstances to remain in the country permanently;

-  Labour migrants shall have the same rights as workers of the country with regard to renting (buying) accommodation.

The present bilateral work agreements with Poland, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Moldova, Belarus, Latvia, Slovakia, Armenia and Vietnam cannot fully safeguard the rights of Ukrainians working abroad.[32]

 

7. Recommendations

1)  Increase the amount spent on labour as part of the cost of production thus increasing the value of labour, and accordingly ensuring the right to a decent level of remuneration.

2)  Ensure that laws on remuneration, including those on minimum legislative guarantees, are complied with throughout Ukraine.

3)   Find effective mechanisms for resolving problems with debts of enterprises and the State in owed wages and other social payments.

4)  Ratify the European Convention on the legal status of migrant workers in order to heighten legal and social protection for Ukrainian nationals abroad.

5)  Ensure enforcement of guarantees for the work of all, including independent, trade unions, as organizations defending workers’ interests.

6)  Refine current legislation on bargaining procedure. This includes regulating the issue of parties to collective bargaining; organizations holding collective bargaining; preparing a draft for a collective agreement; the makeup of the commission responsible for drawing up the draft; places for holding bargaining talks; guarantees and compensation during the bargaining period for taking part in the bargaining.

7)  Remove from Article 39 § 6 of the Law “On trade unions, their rights and guarantees for their work”, to need for a justified refusal by a trade union to consent to a worker’s dismissal.

8)  Supplement Article 2 of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine “Fundamental labour rights of workers” with the right to information and consultations within the framework of the enterprise; introduce legislation on procedure for providing information and holding consultations At the same time acknowledge at legislative level the right of workers to information and establish the responsibility of employers to provide the necessary information and their liability for not adhering to this;

9)  Improve legal regulation for extracting money recognized by the court as owed by enterprises, especially those which are State-funded.

10)  Regulate the use of labour input coefficients in order to prevent this indicator being used for corrupt redistribution of workers’ income.

 



[1]  Prepared by Maxim Shcherbatyuk, UHHRU

[2] A. Alekseyev: “How cheap can labour remain?” // Dzerkalo tyzhnya [Weekly Mirror] no. 4 (633) from  3-9 February 2007. http://www.zn.kiev.ua/ie/show/633/55765/

[3] Monitoring of adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine). Carried out by the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region. There is one industrial enterprise in Zorinsk, the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine, which is State-owned. The population of the town is 9,200. The data collected during this monitoring work are, in our opinion, typical for small and middle-size towns in Ukraine.

[4] The original is from the same study as in the above footnote, however given the large number of different types of mining jobs which require specialist knowledge, compounded by the fact that all depends on the actual buying power of the Ukrainian hryvnya [UAH], the table in the original has simply been summarized.  According to http://www.kmu.gov.ua/control/publish/article?art_id=63582521 [a government site] the average monthly income in Ukraine during 2006 was 1,000 UAH, which is a little over 200 USD (translator)

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Outgoings on communal services are taken in the optimum case where there is central heating, hot and cold water (as in Luhansk). For Zorinsk, taking into consideration the local infrastructure, housing and communal services structure, the outgoings of residents of apartment blocks are actually higher. This is especially true if one takes into account moral damages, which can be partially seen through the “above-norm” spending on medical treatment due to catarrhal illnesses, extra spending on transport, food, etc

[8] Monitoring of adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine). Carried out by the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region.

[9]  Ibid

[10]  Figures from the State Department of Statistics www.ukrstat.gov.ua/

[11] A. Alekseyev: “How cheap can labour remain?” // Dzerkalo tyzhnya [Weekly Mirror] no. 4 (633) from  3-9 February 2007. http://www.zn.kiev.ua/ie/show/633/55765/

[12] „Less and less unemployed in Ukraine, but ever more poor people”: http://www.helsinki.org.ua/index.php?id=1171022400

[13] A. Alekseyev: “How cheap can labour remain?” // Dzerkalo tyzhnya [Weekly Mirror] no. 4 (633) from  3-9 February 2007. http://www.zn.kiev.ua/ie/show/633/55765/

[14] Figures from the State Department of Statistics www.ukrstat.gov.ua/

[15] „The prosecutor’s office is combating debt” // the newspaper Hart, № 33 from 09.2006 .

[16] „Each worker is entitled to receive his or her wages on time” // the newspaper “Novyny Horodnyanshchyny” № 82-83 from 14.10.2006

[17] „Teachers are on strike, there are again hold-ups with pay” // the newspaper “Sivershchyna”, № 52 from 22.12.2006.

[18]  UHHRU site: : http://helsinki.org.ua/index.php?id=1164899997.

[19]  Monitoring of adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine). Carried out by the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region.

[20]  Information from the State Labour Inspectorate for the Luhansk region.

[21] Discrepancies in legislation – citizens and the Budget lose out – Conclusions from the Ukrainian Accounting Chamber www.ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=801348&cat_id=411

[22]  These are for work expenses, just as uniforms, etc.  In fact the money was never paid thus leading to workers’ entitlement to compensation [translator]

[23]  As in footnote 21

[24] Monitoring of adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine). Carried out by the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region.

[25] Ibid

[26] Report on the work of the Social Security Fund for Industrial Accidents and Work-related illnesses, the industrial safety conditions in the national economy, social protection for victims at the workplace and the use of insurance funding during 2006. Approved by Resolution No. 4 of the Board of the Social Security Fund for Industrial Accidents and Work-related illnesses, 28.02. 2007

[27] The newspaper “Hart”, № 48 from 01.12.2006

[28] See.: http://www.mlsp.gov.ua/control/uk/publish/article?art_id=50676&cat_id=50688

[29] Monitoring of adherence to minimum State standards and State guarantees in the mining city of Zorinsk in the Luhansk region (the “Nikanor-Nova” Mine). Carried out by the Public Committee for the Protection of Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, together with the Confederation of Free Trade Unions in the Luhansk region.

[30] Material prepared on the basis of a project “Protection of the labour rights of State sector employees in Ukraine”, carried out by the Free Trade Union for Education and Science with the financial support of the International Renaissance Foundation (2007). The researchers were Andriy Sokolov and Olena Hrabovska.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Y. Antonenko: Regulation of the labour activities of Ukrainian nationals temporarily working abroad: http://www.dcz.gov.ua/kir/control/uk/publish/article;jsessionid=B32001CF0D85BB1F3586E78BCC6EDF0A?art_id=3635433&cat_id=367421

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