More and more reports of public sector workers forced to join Party of the Regions
There have been a number of reports in the last week of doctors and other public sector workers in different parts of Ukraine being forced to join the ruling Party of the Regions and / or “express support” for the highly controversial language law which significantly increases the status of the Russian language.
In the Sumy region OPORA reports that 122 hospital employees joined the Party of the Regions with one of them asserting that this was forced on them.
One of the Romne Central Hospital medical workers was not asked for his consent. OPORA says that they are not revealing his name to prevent possible dismissal, and cites the Law on Information which stipulates that journalists have the right to not disclose their sources. The medical worker says that he was invited to the office of the Chief Doctor Valentina Hunkova who gave him the application for membership of the Party of the Regions more as an order than a suggestion.
A few days later they were all called into the hall where the Mayor of Romney who is also the head of the local Party of the Regions branch handed them their party cards. They were only told later that they would have to pay a 3 UAH monthly fee.
The doctors were also told how the general director of a local factor and likely candidate from the Party of the Regions does a lot for the city and the hospital in particular, and that in the near future he would be participating in the purchase of new equipment for the hospital.
The hospital employees say that they joined the Party of the Regions out of fear of losing their jobs. They were asked by the civic observer if they planned to vote for the Party of the Regions and said no.
The Sumy Region OPORA Press Secretary had no joy in getting through to the Chief Doctor by phone, being constantly told that she wasn’t at her desk. One of her deputies finally came to the phone and in fairly emotional tones denied any pressure on staff at all. The representative of the Party of the Regions also denied any pressure.
Radio Svoboda writes that as well as pressure already reported on education workers to sign in favour of the controversial language law. there are now reports from a town in the Kirovohrad region of pressure on public sector workers. They say that they are being forced to join the party. The Party of the Regions denies this.
According to a kindergarten teacher from Oleksandriya, who asked not to be named, the Party of the Regions controls the entirely public sector sphere and therefore all those who work in it. She said that they had already tried to force all the staff of the kindergarten to join the party. She said that they had been invited to get their photos taken and then found out that this was in order to join the Party of the Regions. The head even said that they had paid for everybody so that all would join. The informant said that there is pressure on the head as well, and everyone is frightened of losing their jobs.
The Party of the Regions claims to be surprised by such methods and that in fact they try to fight false membership.