Human rights in Ukraine – 2007. 15. Socio-economic rights
1. Trends with regard to observance of socio-economic rights
Ensuring socio-economic rights is always a political issue. Each political party or force is ever concerned to demonstrate their concern for ordinary people. Of course in the majority of cases there is no ability behind their words to guarantee their fulfilment. As a result, we have declarative and inflexible legislation, a huge imbalance in the sphere of social insurance as well as a deepening divide between rich and poor.
Particularly staggering is the calculation of the subsistence minimum which is the base indicator for the entire system of social protection. The selection of food and non-food items and services included in this indicator already fails to meet the minimum requirements for survival. The very method for calculating the subsistence minimum is outdated and does not make it possible to receive reliable data. The fact that the population is rapidly decreasing is as clear an indicator of the problem as could be needed.
The declarative nature of legislation is most vividly demonstrated by the failure to implement the judgment of the Constitutional Court regarding the Law “On the State Budget for 2007” which declared unconstitutional some of its provisions restricting socio-economic rights. Moreover, everything indicates that the government has no intention of implementing it. This is confirmed by the fact that the law on the Budget for 2008 repeats many of the restrictions which the Court found to be unconstitutional.
In 2007 the divide between rich and poor continued to increase, as well as the imbalance between different fields in payment for labour. The mechanical increase in the minimum wage without the requisite reform of the actual system of remuneration could not improve people’s standard of living. Ineffective reaction by the government to inflationary processes virtually nullified the impact of a growth in the population’s income. There is also a deepening rift between labour productivity and payment which can lead to extremely negative consequences for the economy, and therefore for the entire population.
Industrial safety remains a problem with the number of accidents and fatal injuries continuing to rise. Virtually no money is allocated for preventive measures and control over adherence to safety requirements in many spheres is insufficient and ineffective. There has been more than one prominent accident in mines and major industrial enterprises as well as a huge number of smaller cases which did not gain prominence.
Despite big plans, the problem of introducing an accumulative pension system has remained unresolved for a number of years. It is clear that in view of present demographic trends, the existing system will soon be unable to provide pension security for the elderly. The government is clearly unable to cope with the task of building a balanced, flexible and effective pension system.
Finally, it is extremely important to make a principled distinction between legal regulation defining socio-economic rights and benefits which are essentially privileges Politics remains about promises and slogans however it is extremely important to ensure and guarantee socio-economic rights which should not be dependent upon political moods and wishes. Furthermore, in accordance with international standards, and the above-mentioned judgment of the Constitutional Court, one may not reduce the scope of existing rights, yet privileges can be cancelled and sometimes even need to be.
2. The right to an adequate standard of living
There has been a lot of talk recently about the standard of living and quality of life improving. Government bodies report of an increase in the population’s income, a rise in wages and reduction in unemployment. Few however reflect on what the right to an adequate standard of living actually means.
This right entails in the first instance the right to a standard including everything, clothes, accommodation, medical care and requisite social services needed to maintain ones own health and well-being and that of ones family. Even more, the right means that each person should be able, with no embarrassment or unwarranted hurdles, to be a fully-fledged participant in ordinary, everyday relations with other people. This means, among other things, that people should be able to satisfy their own need with dignity. Nobody should live in conditions where their only way of meeting their needs is through degrading themselves or forgoing their own fundamental freedoms, for example, through begging, prostitution or labour bondage.
If we look at the realities of life, we see how far we still are from the high level established in European countries. No wonder that the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, commenting in its concluding recommendations for Ukraine on the failure of the level of income in our country to provide an adequate standard of living, recommended taking the necessary measures to safeguard this right as soon as possible.
From the purely material point of view an adequate standard of living entails being above the poverty line as defined in any given country.
In Ukraine the main social indicator used as the starting point in determining both the poverty level and the minimum wage is the subsistence minimum. This is also the basis for determining State social guarantees and standards regarding the population’s income, housing and communal, everyday, social and cultural services, medical care and education.
This is one of the key problems since the method for calculating the subsistence minimum has not changed over many years, is obsolete and does not meet modern day needs. There is also a clear violation of legislation on the subsistence minimum. The law stipulates that the range of food items and of goods and services should be designated by the Cabinet of Ministers at least once every five years. Yet the last document approving this basket was the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 656 from 14 April 2000.
The existing method does not meet modern needs and underestimates human requirements. For example, 52 kilograms of meat per year is stipulated for an able-bodied individual instead of the medical standard of 80 kilograms. Purchases of outside winter clothing are envisaged once in five years, and it is proposed that a woman wears one skirt and three blouses. There are a lot of such examples. With all of this, income tax which each person pays is not excluded from the calculation for subsistence minimum and this accordingly reduces the money actually received. All these factors lead to a distortion of the real subsistence minimum, and therefore also to other social indicators.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has on many occasions approached the Cabinet of Ministers, as well as the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy, over the need to reassess outmoded norms. Yet the answers received suggest that the draft for a new methodology is wandering around different offices, and nobody knows when any kind of decision will be taken. The President has also pointed out the shortcomings of the system for calculating the subsistence minimum.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that for calculating many social guarantees, it is not even the subsistence minimum that is used, but such an indicator as the level to which the subsistence minimum is provided for. The State effectively demonstrates that it is not capable of fulfilling even obligations which are lower than the minimum, according to a standard subsistence minimum for everyone, and establishes yet another which reflects the financial capacity of the State to safeguard socio-economic rights.
A natural consequence of ineffective policy on ensuring an adequate standard of living is the constant worsening of the demographic situation in the country. During 2006 Ukraine lost 297.7 thousand people, in 2007 (despite a small increase in the birth-rate – from 9.7 to 10.1) – 290, 22 thousand. Average life expectancy in 2007 was 67.9 years, or 62.1 for men (against 64.2 in 1991), and 73.5 (against 74.2 in 1991) for women. In this, Ukraine is 11 years behind Germany; 12 behind France; 13 behind Sweden, and even behind its closest neighbours – Hungary and Bulgaria by 4 years and Slovakia by 5.
This negative trend is occurring against a background of a general loss in the regeneration of generations and deformation of the age spread of the population, with the number of people of a reproductive age being reduced. Between 2003 and 2007 the ratio of the population over 50 increased from 32.8 to 33.4%. Health figures are worsening for all age groups: in 2006 on average for each 100 people there were 175 registered illnesses. Labour migration of the able-bodied part of the population is increasing, with expert assessments estimating that there are more than 3.5 million Ukrainian nationals presently working abroad.
The situation is particularly bad in rural areas. According to the Accounting Chamber there has not been and remains no systematic government support for socio-economic development of the countryside. This is eloquently reflected in the figures – from 1991 to the beginning of 2007 the rural population fell by almost 2 million or 11.8%. The lack of positive moves in ensuring the viability of the rural population which could provide the basis for an improvement in the demographic situation and the development of the labour potential is leading to a situation where the negative trends in the rural social sphere are worsening.
Rural areas are becoming depopulated. From 2001-2005 in 3.6 thousand villages (12.5% of the total number) not one child was born, and in 3 thousand villages there were no children under the age of five. Since independence the number of rural populated areas has fallen by 305. The level of depopulation of the rural population clearly indicates demographic catastrophe. 
We thus see that the rapid rate of increase in nominal income is not adequately reflected in an improvement of the quality of life and protection of socio-economic rights.
An important element in guaranteeing the right to an adequate standard of living is ensuring proper quality of food items, and in this there are considerable problems. This is confirmed not only by consumer rights organizations, but even by government bodies. For example, the State Committee on Technical Regulation and Consumer Policy [the State Committee) points to the need for new requirements regarding the safety and quality of products set down in the Law “On the safety and quality of food items”.
The Head of the Scientific Research Centre for Food Testing attached to the State Committee Volodymyr Semenovych says that at the present time the main normative document in use on the quality of food products is the obsolete “Medical and biological requirements regarding the quality and safety of food products”, drawn up and approved in 1989, when the Law “On the safety and quality of food items” placed the responsibility on the Ministry of Health to draw up new standards. However the Ministry has still not come up with the necessary document. The obsolete normative act also contains a list of pesticides which do not take into account the increase in types of protection of plants used in the production of vegetable productions over the last decade.
Furthermore the State Committee states that it would not be expedient to cancel the compulsory certification of imported food products and narrow the list of domestic food items subject to certification drawn up during Ukraine’s moves towards joining the World Trade Organization. . Volodymyr Semenovych said that selective studies by his scientific research centre had shown that many products do not meet quality standards, and some are positively dangerous to health. For example, several cases were demonstrated where there was an excessive level of organo-phosphorous pesticides and nitrates in grapes from Turkey and Italy, as well as in green herbs and vegetables imported from Poland, Georgia, Turkey, Latvia and other countries.
Another vitally important area is ensuring a decent quality of drinking water, with this having a direct impact on people’s health and the environmental and epidemic safety of whole regions. The Accounting Chamber’s report states that in terms of water supplies, Ukraine is behind most countries in Europe. At the same time, the average use of water per city resident is 320 litres per day. Due to the water and sewage systems being run down, there is a constant increase in the amount of water wasted in transportation. Another problem is the fact that 15% of rural town-like settlements, and 78% of villages are not connected to central water supplies at all.
The unsatisfactory situation is confirmed by the Accounting Chamber which reviewed the audit into the use of funds from the State Budget on measures for the development and reconstruction of water supply systems. It found that the state of the water separation and supplies systems was critical, with the main stocks being run down and requiring urgent measures from the authorities.
For example, the authorities and bodies of local self-government in violation of the Laws “On ensuring the sanitary and epidemiological wellbeing of the population” and “On drinking water and drinking water supplies” have not taken the necessary measures to provide an adequate amount of decent quality drinking water.
Despite very broad recognition of the rights linking with housing in all international, regional and national legal systems, there are few rights violated on such a scale and so severely as the right to adequate housing. It is however difficult to identify the scale of violations with any exactness. Furthermore, international documents do not simply affirm the right to housing, but to adequate housing which according to documents of the UN Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights means the right to separate accommodation, a decent amount of living space, proper safety, lighting and ventilation, proper basic infrastructure and location from the point of view of work and basic services, and moreover all of this must be affordable.
High prices for housing have always been a problem for guaranteeing the right to adequate housing. Over recent years the divide between the price per square metre and current wages has risen sharply. Back in 2006 the prices of accommodation in cities with a million or more inhabitants crossed the threshold of a thousand US dollars per metre squared and kept rising.
In Kyiv prices on the secondary market for that same metre squared are already about 2.5 thousand dollars, and in nearby suburbs – 1.5 thousand. This is with the average pay per month in most regions of the country going from 200 dollars, and in Kyiv from 450. Housing is still being pitched at an elite part of the population, with not only those poorly-off being ignored, but also the middle-income part of the population.
The situation is not being resolved. The Soviet mechanism for allocating accommodation has virtually died, and no sensible alternative has yet been offered. The relatively good figures of 22 square metres per head of population should not deceive anybody. According to State Committee of Statistics figures the amount of space for two out of every five households in the country was lower than the sanitary norm (13.65 metres per person). Incidentally the latter comes to us from the times of the Revolution and in the initial variant was “three square sanitary norms”. However to this day 45% of urban residents do not have it and 19% do not even have two square sanitary norms.
In November 2007 the President put forward a strategy concept for resolving the housing issue. A similar concept was also prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers. The President’s proposals boiled down to the State providing money to some of those needing housing. In the President’s words, “I am profoundly convinced that the State must ensure a single amount of free financial assistance for the first payment amounting to 30% of the cost of buying housing”.
The government is asked to find 0.5% of GNP (4 billion UAH) for that, beginning from 2009. Essentially that’s all there is about those needing housing. Nor is there anything about it being accessible. It’s hard to imagine accessible housing allocated by officials according to lists they have put together. And yet it is this, effectively, that is suggested.
In the most optimistic estimates this should ensure movement of the housing queue from 20 thousand orders per year to 70 thousand “sometime”. Taking into account the fact that there are presently 1.3 million people waiting in line, the prospects are not difficult to estimate. Incidentally, 290 thousand of these should anyway be issued with accommodation either ahead of their turn, or as top priority. If one adds 133 military people waiting, it all becomes even more interesting. That means that the situation will definitely not be resolved before 2020. However even having divided the proposed 4 billion per year into the declared value of a square metre, we will have a little more than a million metres to hand out. That means one metre per person waiting in line.
A particularly sore point and not just in the last year has been the problem of accessible housing for the military. While in the first instance this is true of those who have been waiting in line for a flat for many years. Those who have accommodation also encounter problems. After all, as a result of major reductions in the Armed Forces, the disbanding of particular units and military towns, a large number of families of military servicemen have remained alone with their problems since buildings have not been repaired over a long period of time, communications, heating and water supplies need to be updated or replaced. In order to resolve this issue at the State level a decision was taken to transfer the housing fund and buildings of the socio-cultural sphere to the balance of bodies of local self-government which, in the majority of cases, are scarcely able to make ends meet. It was planned to allocate additional funding for this programme.
However practice shows that in our country even with ideal plans, the end result often has nothing in common with what was planned. This is confirmed by the results of an audit into how effectively the funding is being managed of subventions from the local budgets for measures on transferring the housing fund and buildings of socio-cultural and everyday needs of the Ministry of Defence into communal property reviewed by the Accounting Chamber.
According to its conclusions, both the Ministries of Finance and of Defence controlled amounts in the many millions of public funds at planning and financing stages without proper cooperation and without justified accounts. This resulted in under-funding of approved scopes of work, funding of subventions not being made in a timely manner and the non-implementation of planned capital repairs and reconstruction of the transferred buildings.
As we see, it is very difficult to speak of accessibility of housing and this also testifies to considerable difficult y in the State’s fulfilment of its international commitment with regard to observing the right to an adequate standard of living.
3. The right to work
The right to work is an inalienable part of human dignity and each person should have the opportunity to do the kind of work which will enable him or her to lead a decent life. The right to work ensures the survival of the individual and his or her family and at the same time promotes the person’s development and recognition in society, on condition that the type of work was chosen freely and without coercion. Work safety must be guaranteed, as well as decent and timely remuneration.
A period of economic growth on the whole had a positive impact on the level to which the labour potential was made use of. From 2000 – 2007 the percentage of the population employed, despite adverse demographic trends, rose by 4.5%. At the end of 2007 the percentage of the population employed rose to 59.1% and reached the highest level since 1999. Economic growth was accordingly accompanied by a gradual reduction in the level of unemployment. For example, from January to October 2007 the number of those officially registered as unemployed fell by 27.1%. The level of unemployment determined according to the methodology of the International Labour Organization fell to 6.2% which was the lowest reading since 1996. At the same time, unemployment took on an ever more pronounced structural character which is a reflection of the lack of reform and disproportional nature of the labour market. The latter is characterized by an imbalance in demand, with a combination of deficit and excess supplies of labour.
It should be noted that it is specifically the local level of pay which it is suggested is the most acute problem on the current employment market. Of all vacancies which employers informed employment centres about in 2007, more than 40% offered wages below the subsistence minimum.
The size of the unemployment benefit is also low. For example, for those insured the minimum employment benefit is 40-55% of the minimum wage. According to the State Committee of Statistics, the average amount of employment benefit last year was 294.3 UAH, and in agrarian regions – 230-250 UAH. One can in no way regard this level as adequate given the level of inflation. This in turn was noted by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, with this body drawing attention to the need for active steps by the government on increasing the size of unemployment benefit.
The norm of the Law “On mandatory State unemployment insurance” stating that unemployment benefit cannot be lower than the legally established subsistence minimum remains mere words to this day. It is claimed that there are no funds for implementing this part of the law.
The norm of this law is also not being implemented which stipulates the procedure and conditions for providing assistance in the case of partial unemployment. This form of assistance is practically not functioning at all and all attempts to bring it in have remained only attempts. This can be seen in the responses from the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy to information requests sent by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
There continues to be high unemployment among the most vulnerable parts of the population, in the first instance, young people, those approaching retirement age and people with disabilities. Many of them cannot work full-time and need special working conditions. Employers don’t want to make their lives more difficulty and therefore don’t employ such people or take them on with less favourable conditions.
An example can be seen with people of pre-retirement age who are effectively outside the labour market. They are forced to waste time and effort on trying to resolve their employment problems themselves, mainly through relatives and friends. This situation forces them to hold on to their jobs excessively, even where neither the pay nor the conditions suit. It distorts the labour market, setting the ground for discrimination and inequality.
We should point out that the Law “On the State Budget for 2008 and amendments to some legislative acts” cancels the norm on guaranties to people of pre-retirement age of the right to early retirement, a year and a half fore before the legally established time. Consequently those people who still have a year and a half to go before retirement age do not receive their pensions and are forced to receive only pathetic unemployment benefit.
With regard to remuneration, it is worth noting that the average salary in 2007 in real terms reached around 70% of the level in 1990. However, despite a significant increase in the average nominal wage, Ukraine still lags behind the vast majority of European countries, including Belarus, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania and the Russian Federation. For example, compared with 2004 the average wage had increased by 73 Euros in the Czech Republic; by 61 in Poland; by 52 in Russia. It is this which is probably leading to mass labour migration from Ukraine and the present shortages in some fields and regions.
The percentage of wages in GNP and in the cost price of products remains low which is not in keeping with general world practice. Wages have made up 45% of GNP over recent years whereas in European Union countries they make up on average 65 percent. In the cost price of goods expenditure on wages comes to around 12 percent, with the figure in the majority of EU countries reaching 30-35 percent.
Wages which are the basis of the population’s income remain too low to fulfil their basic functions. Whereas, according to the demands of the European Social Charter, the minimum wage should be no less than two and a half times the subsistence minimum, in Ukraine it is only about 81% of the subsistence minimum for able-bodied people. 19.1% of those receiving wages in 2007 earned less than the subsistence minimum. Thus over 2 million workers cannot, through their labour, meet a minimum level of consumption and basic social and cultural needs. And this is with a highly flawed and outdated system for estimating the subsistence minimum.
There remains a trend towards sharp differentiation between the level of remuneration depending on the type of economic activity with this having impact on the formation of rates of pay, rather than the amount, quality or results of the work. According to figures from the State Committee of Statistics, it was on average 10% of the population with the highest income who profited most from the economic growth during the first half of 2007. Their income increased in nominal terms by 24%, whereas the income of the remainder of the population increased by 16-17%. This yet again demonstrates another very deep-lying problem, the divide between rich and poor is increasing which is, in turn, leading to a rise in social tension in society.
Mechanical increases in the minimal wage from 2005-2007, not linked with an according increase in labour productivity, could not resolve systemic contradictions in remuneration and did not encourage employers to reveal the incomes of their employees. As of September 2007, 6.3% of employees were paid the minimum legally established wage. The largest percentage of employees with wages lower than the minimum were in fishing– 16.9 %, in agriculture – 15.6 %, in the communal services industry and in the sphere of culture - 8 %.
As already mentioned there is an economically unwarranted differentiation of wages between different fields with the wages in a number of fields between 2 or 2.5 times lower than the average for the country. Low wages are largely seen in fields paid for out of the State budget and in agriculture. For example, in September 2007, 25.5% of educational workers and 26.6% of those in healthcare earned less than the subsistence minimum for able-bodied people (561 UAH), which is worse than the figures for 2006 which were 21.0% and 21.9% respectively. Wages in industrial areas are also unsatisfactory; employees in the most technical fields (production of car and other equipment, of electrical, electronic and optical equipment) which provide other areas of the economy with new technical methods and technology, receive wages lower than those who use these methods and technology.
In today’s circumstances practical mechanisms for indexation of payment of labour need to be drawn up to neutralize the negative social effect of inflation and to prevent a drop in buying power and demand. Indexation should be differentiated depending on the type of income. It should most concern those on low incomes and be one of the means of reducing differentiation of remuneration. A problem method of indexation will make it possible to reduce the social “cost” of adaptation inflation at the level of 10-12% per year.
It should be noted that in 2007 a system was still not introduced for a minimal hourly rate of pay. This could be a positive step towards improving the system of remuneration, but it does require a very sensible approach in implementing it. This is important to avoid abuse on the labour market where a large number of people will be employed part-time and will accordingly not receive full pension entitlement or social security contributions.
The situation is somewhat improving as far as debt arrears on wages. Just in November 2007 the overall amount of such arrears fell by 7.6%, and this was in the majority of regions. Two thirds of the total amount of arrears at present is in connection with enterprises which are not running or which have gone bankrupt. The number of employees of functional enterprises not paid their wages on time, as on 1 December 2007 came to 1.5% of the total number of workers.
At the same time, the problem of debt arrears remains crucial, especially as regards workers of the fuel and energy industry, as well as those working in agriculture. At the present time the assurances given by the President that arrears on wages – and this involves 700 million UAH - would finally be eliminated have not been kept. The problems with wages arrears also contribute to the fact that despite considerable liability for their non-payment being envisaged, in practice most often there are only fines of from 15 to 50 times the minimum monthly wage before tax (255 – 850 UAH).
According to figures from the Prosecutor General in 2007, prosecutor’s offices initiated 1659 criminal investigations (against 1, 847 in 2006) over violations of legislation on payment of work. Of these 1502 were submitted to the court (against 1631 in 2006). In many cases, the wages were paid after the intervention of the Prosecutor. For example, merely on the basis of orders from the Dnipropetrovsk regional prosecutor’s office, workers of the Mittal Steel Kryvy Rih joint stock company and of the state enterprise the Malyshev Factory debt arrears amounting to 42.3 million UAH were eliminated.
Another area which cannot be ignored is that of work safety as an integral part of the right to decent employment. The number of jobs which pose a real threat to health is increasing. Almost one in three people work in conditions which do not comply with normative legal acts on safety at work. For these reasons, as well as due to the unsatisfactory provision of workers with means for individual and group protection, the level of work-related illness has risen – from 2.5-2.7 thousand in 1990-1992 to 5.7 thousand in 2005-2006.
The situation in 2007 brought no fundamental changes. The financing of measures aimed at preventing industrial accidents and work-related illnesses, increased somewhat however remained inadequate. Furthermore, even according to official figures from the Industrial Accident and Occupational Diseases which have caused Disability Fund, in 2007 compared with the same period in 2006, the number of fatal accidents at the work place increased by 3.6% The President stated that the level of work safety was half that of neighbouring countries. He also pointed out that over the previous year 1, 176 people had received fatal injuries in the workplace, and that there had been 19 thousand injuries altogether. Moreover, such cases are often examined inadequately and too slowly.
It should be mentioned that the official figures for accidents in no way reflect the severity of the problem since accidents at the workplace are often concealed. This is particularly true of small accidents which are widely kept out of records or investigations. For example, according to data from the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions in 2007 they uncovered 520 concealed accidents, among them fatal ones.
All of this is confirmed by data from the Prosecutor General which indicate that prosecutor’s offices last year initiated 555 criminal investigations over work safety, with 463 of these submitted to the court. 10 thousand people were issued with prosecutors’ documents of response. Checks established numerous cases where employers exercised no control over adherence by employees of technological processes; lack of funding of work safety; providing directives on completion of work with infringements of industrial safety rules; failure to use measures for individual protection and to give instructions of work safety; neglect of the requirements of normative acts on work safety by employees of enterprises and cases where work injuries were concealed. The Prosecutor also states that adequate efforts are not being taken by the authorities and State controlling bodies to prevent deaths and injuries at the workplace.
Parliament has still not passed a nationwide programme for improving safety and hygiene at work 70% if current normative legal acts were passed before 1990, and do not comply with modern work conditions.
The State Committee on Industrial Safety does not react to infringements of work safety legislation. Material on cases established which have posed a threat to life or created the danger of other serious consequences are not always passed to the prosecutor’s office. There is still no proper control over the use of particularly dangerous machines and equipment. The State Committee on Industrial Safety issues permits for work suspended by its territorial offices although the infringements identified have not been removed.
The Industrial Accident and Occupational Diseases which have caused Disability Fund has not ensured full implementation of preventive measures aimed at eliminating harmful and dangerous industrial factors. No specialized medical and patronage services have been created.
Infringements of normative acts on work safety in the coal industry are still the most widespread. Out of the total number of injuries at the workplace in 2007, 38% were suffered by miners. At the same time the Ministry of the Coal Industry is not providing proper State management of work safety in the coal industry and departmental control in this area. Modern rules for safety in coal mines have not been drawn up. There has been no implementation of a field programme on “Miners’ health” for prophylactic measures against work-related illnesses of miners.
Mine workers are only 48% provided with work boots; 50% with gloves; and 86% with anti-dust respirators. There are not enough individual lanterns and rescue alerts. There is a similar situation in other areas of the economy, for example in the metallurgic and chemical industries, in the agricultural industry and in construction. This is yet another confirmation of how deep the problems of work safety go.
One of the main reasons for violations of labour rights is the fact that labour legislation is ignored on a wide scale, compounded by the lack of effective control over observance of this legislation by the State authorities, According to the Federation of Trade Unions this is resulting in an increasing number of infringements connected with wrongful dismissal. The level of infringements of labour rights remains fairly high regarding working hours (including being called upon to do overtime), time off, including having to work on public holidays and non-working days. 
What can one say when even virtually all ministries (the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and others), the prosecutor’s office and other authorities, as a rule make their employees work at the weekend and out of working hours. Nor do the employees receive any extra payment or benefits – on paper this type of work simply doesn’t exist and it is not carried out officially. This is among other things caused by a considerable overload with employees’ work simply not possible to finish during working hours.
Cases where civil-legal agreements instead of labour contracts are drawn up have become extremely common with this leading to employees being deprived of the right to annual leave, to various types of social insurance and so forth.
Problems remain with trade union rights. According to information from the Federation of Trade Unions, in 2007 they identified 129 infringements of the rights of trade union organizations which are part of the Federation. The most flagrant were interference by employers in the statutory activities of the trade union organizations, especially primary ones; prohibition on taking part in trade unions; obstructions put in the way of employees forming trade unions, especially at private enterprises, multinational companies; the creation of puppet trade unions; complicating the procedure for holding strikes; violation of the labour rights of members of trade unions in connection with their active participation in the trade unions; banning members of electoral bodies of trade unions and their authorized representatives from visiting without any obstruction enterprises, institutions and organizations where members of the trade union are working; wrongful dismissal of the heads of primary trade union organizations or members of the trade union committee; bringing disciplinary measures against them; changing the conditions of their work; employers’ avoiding involvement in collective negotiations; obstructions to gathering trade union contributions or failure to transfer them to the appropriate trade union organizations; complicating the system of registration of trade unions; financial control over the statutory activities by the authorities, bodies of local self-government, etc.
They state that the main reasons for violations of the labour rights of members of the trade unions and the rights of the trade union organizations is the legal nihilism of employers; the failure to exercise the law by officials of the authorities and bodies of local self-government and their own powers to ensure observance of rights and liberties. Increased liability should therefore be imposed in cases where these individuals fail to carry out their duties. This applies first and foremost to the State and its authorities officials since the best thought-out mechanisms for implementing legal norms will be useless if the State is incapable of demanding that its own bodies and officials be held answerable for failing to fully or in any measure carry out their duties to protect people’s rights.
The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine has also expressed deep concern over the violations of trade unions’ rights. The Head of the Confederation Mr Volynets has said that there were not just isolated cases where trade unions’ rights were flagrantly violated in 2007. These involved unwarranted refusals to legalize trade unions; dissolution of trade unions; persecution of trade union leaders; dismissals and pressure on employees due to their participation in trade unions; interference by the administration or State authorities into the internal affairs of the trade union. Each of these provides glaring evidence of the lack of proper observance of trade unions’ rights and the ILO Convention No. 87.
«In the town of Shostka in the Sumy region at the enterprise “Zirka” the independent trade union which had dared fight against the failure over many months to pay wages became the target of reprisals by the administration. Employees did not receive their wages for five months. During that time the director recommended that they take out loans in the bank using their personal property as security. Despite the considerable arrears with wages, the administration openly ignored the Law “On trade unions, their rights and guaranties for their activities” and refused to provide the trade union with information about the financial incomings of the enterprise.
On 20 August 2007 the head of the trade union Rostyslav Duplin received a letter from the director of the enterprise Kozlov saying that he was allowed to visit the working places of the members of the trade union only on warning about the date and purpose of the visit and specific structural premises which he planned to see. The trade union was thus effectively deprived of the possibility of working at the enterprise, carrying out its functions in work safety and protection, as well as direct trade union organizational functions.
It was only with the help of a deputy’s appeal to the Prosecutor General that in three months the head of the trade union managed to get a pass to give him access to the enterprise.
During that time the office use by Duplin who had left his position as head of the department to take up the trade union work was burgled and the trade union documentation stolen. The provisions of the Code of Labour Laws of Ukraine and the Law ““On trade unions, their rights and guaranties for their activities” on the need to provide the trade union committee with separate appropriately equipped premises have still not been implemented; trade union activists have experienced persecution; the head of the trade union’s deputies were dismissed under the pretext of job reductions with job advertisements for specialists for similar posts appearing at the same time in the newspaper.
The State Labour Inspectorate which the independent trade union approached on several occasions in connection with violations by the enterprise administration of the labour rights of their employees has systematically responded with fob-offs.”
The Confederation of Free Trade Unions did not only find flagrant infringements in provincial towns, but in large cities also. According to Volynets, for example, Kharkiv is notorious for persecution of free trade unions.
«In Kharkiv in August 2007 130 machine operators of the Kharkiv metro decided to joint the Free Trade Union of Train Workers of the Kharkiv Metropolitan in order to gain protection and representation of their labour and social rights. After this step, the management began a campaign of deliberate persecution.
On 29 August immediately after the notification to the administration of the State enterprise “Kharkiv Metropolitan” of the creation of the Free Trade Union, an overt measure of intimidation was carried out with the jeering title “Safety Day” in the depot “Moskovske”. As a result, thirteen employees, all members of the Free Trade Union, faced disciplinary measures, had their bonus reduced by 20%, were sent on an unscheduled test of their knowledge, and others. Two of the men – Y. Mykhevych and Y. Serdyuk received the penalties mentioned in advance so to speak, since at 4.30 when the protocol was being drawn up they hadn’t yet arrived at work, and therefore they could not even theoretically have been guilty of the infringements listed in the protocol.
In another order №541 from 8 October 2007, numerous speed restrictions on various parts of the metro were established with these being practically impossible to combine with the set timetable for trains. These and other orders, instructions and regulations, issued by the administration, both contradict one another and the instructions of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. They result in a situation where you can also blame and penalize an employee for breaches of this or that instruction.
At the present time, in conditions of extensive pressure on the Free Trade Union, 20 employees have already been dismissed on the initiative of the administration. All of them are machine operators from the electrical deport and members of the Free Trade Union.
Clearly such actions are not merely a violation of the labour rights of employees who are members of the trade union, but also a serious threat to the safety of thousands of passengers. Yet for the administration of the enterprise the main thing is their wish to get even with an independent trade union and to achieve slave-like docility from their employees.
The largest passenger airline in the country – the company “Aerosvit” – also demonstrated an unprecedented case involving ignoring a trade union, Volynets reports.
“In 2006 the administration concluded a collective agreement with the trade union of pilots “League of airline pilots”. However, as was evident from the very beginning, they did this without any intention of actually implementing it. The trade union counted no less than 10 infringement of the collective agreement beginning with remuneration and ending with providing food during flights..
In the airline company there has been a systematic failure to implement a number of fundamental requirements of the Order of the State Airline Service from 5 December 2004 №920 with regard to working hours and time off for aircraft crews. As a result, on many flights the night working hours for crews are over 12 hours rather than the permitted. Furthermore there have been attempts by the administration to encourage the crews to fiddle the real time that they commenced work. This results in “day” norms of the working day being applied for night hours, and systematic falsification of the real time people begin work. On some flights pilots work up to 12.5 hours instead of the correct 8, which is highly dangerous and could have fatal consequences.
The former head of the “League of airline pilots”, Serhiy Molody began a battle to have the rights and guarantees for pilots set down on paper observed in real life.
The result of this, of course, was his wrongful dismissal which was not agreed with the managing body of the primary trade union, not with the bodies of trade union associations which they belong to. Yet the court refused to reinstate him.”
As we see, the rights of trade unions are systematically violated by many employers.
The problem with a considerable flow of able-bodied members of the population abroad as a result of social and economic shortcomings did not arise just yesterday. It is mainly people from the West and the East of the country who head abroad for earnings. Despite a certain economic stabilization observed recently, the rate and scale of labour migration, in the view of a number of experts, means that the State must take urgent and adequate measures. An extremely important step in protecting the rights of migrants was Ukraine’s ratification in 2007 of the European Convention of the Legal Status of Labour Migrants which is aimed at improving the system of legal and social protection for Ukrainian nationals who are working in countries of the Council of Europe in accordance with the legislation of the receiving party.
However in order to ensure that the protection of migrants is truly effective, there need to also be international agreements in the area of employment with particular countries, in the first instance with those where there are the greatest numbers of Ukrainian nationals. Furthermore the conditions need to be created to ensure that the mechanisms of protection set down into the contracts do begin working. At present such agreements have only been concluded with some countries. According to information from the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy, such agreements have been reached with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Libya, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia and Vietnam. There are no such agreements yet, however, with Spain, Greece, Italy, Romania and other places where there are large numbers of Ukrainian migrants.
4. The right to social protection
Economic growth and an influx of funding of channels of the system of social security have at once highlighted a range of significant and systemic problems linked with being behind in reforming the social sphere. Among these are:
- inadequacy of the norms of social and labour legislation, the non-use of State social standards and social guarantees of current legislation, and the insufficient level to which social legislation to European Union law;
- lack of clear differentiation of social functions, duties and responsibility for resolving social problems between the centre and the regions.
These problems have considerably reduced the effectiveness of government social policy which ensures the appropriate social effect of the growth in economic indicators and has proven incapable of overcoming major social threats.
Among these threats are the low standard and quality of living of the population; a significant number of poor people, including those in employment; a sharper divide of the population according to the level of income and unfavourable conditions for the development of a middle class.
It should be noted that in recent years the priority in social policy has been support for the poorest, most socially vulnerable and non-able-bodied groups in society. This priority is seen in the absence of any national strategy as regards social policy. This has led to a narrowing in the social functions of the State, a sharp lowering in the efficiency of social policy as a whole, and social spending in particular. The evolution of a system of social protection seen from 2004-2005 led to an increase in a dependency mode among wide layers of society, the collapse of insurance principles of pension provision prompted the “levelling out” of the income of the vast majority on people not working and caused an excessive social load on the State Budget.
In 2007 the trend towards increase in spending on social protection and security continued. In the State Budget for 2007 spending on social protection made up 21% (against 15% in 2006); on education – 7% (against 5% in 2006); healthcare – 4% (against 3%). However no significant practical moves in the area of social protection were achieved. Mechanical increases in resources spent in the social sphere effectively substituted changes needed in the first instance in the organization and technology for meeting social needs and increasing the efficiency of social spending. There is no scientifically justified monitoring and systematic assessment of the effectiveness of expenditure on social needs.
Development of possible directions of social policy has been replaced by constant expansion of the number of different types of social assistance and benefits with a low level of targeting and not supported by possibilities for funding from the Budget. At present the State has commitments to provide 150 types of social benefits, guarantees and compensations to 230 categories of the population, with the system of benefits being regulated by 46 normative legal acts. Benefits according to social indicators are granted on the basis of 24 legislative acts according to which 15 million citizens, or almost a third of the population, are entitled to such benefits. According to various estimates, the value of declared benefits is from 19-29 billion UAH per year which is several times in excess of the scale of budgetary funding actually allocated.
Due to the lack of real reform in the social sphere, the latter has turned into a remnant of the socialist system with a high level of paternalism, prevalence of a dependency mentality among a considerable part of the population, financial lack of justification for a large number of commitments and an extremely ineffective system of management. Deep-lying distortions have developed in the structure and spread of income and in the accessibility to the population of basic social services.
The strategic direction of social policy should therefore be a gradual reduction in the ratio of direct State funding of social needs and increase in the amount of funding by the population on the basis of an increase in all forms of income, especially salaries, pensions and other forms of social transfers.
With regard to reform of the system of social security, leading experts agree that such reforms should envisage:
- provision of all forms of social assistance (including social pension) on a targeted basis taking into account the total income of the whole family;
- introduction of a single form of targeted social assistance for unforeseen circumstances – the death of a relative, serious illness, natural disaster, social conflict, etc;
- simplification and unification of the mechanisms for receiving targeted social assistance together with the introduction of mechanisms for determining the real income of those applying for targeted social assistance;
- gradual transfer from provision of assistance on the basis of low income and subsidies for payment of housing and communal services and fuel to the provision of a single form of targeted social assistance;
- an increase in the student grants to orphaned young people studying in higher institutes and vocational training colleges to double the subsistence minimum;
- doubling the level of payments for those doing military service;
- an increase in the level of State assistance to families with many children to 50% of the subsistence minimum taking into account income and supplementary benefits.
In this context it is extremely important to consider the issue of pension reforms.
At the present time the State collects funds for pensions via a system of compulsory contributions and distributes them manually as needed regardless of how much each individual has actually paid into the Pension Fund. With this set up those who are presently working are effectively paying the pensions of those who receive them.
Unfortunately an accumulation system of mandatory State pension insurance has still not been introduced.
The inadequacy of the present pension system which is based on a purely fiscal redistribution of resources, effectively removing them from investment circulation, is obvious.
As international experience shows, it is only possible to ensure a decent standard of living for pensioners through a flexible and diversified pension system combining different methods and sources of funding. The most effective is a system of pensions made up of 5 elements: the zero level – a minimum social pension guaranteed to all citizens upon reaching a certain age (usually 5-7 years later than the general retirement age) regardless of length of social security payments and amount of contributions made; the first level – pension from a solidarity system which is paid to all those who have reached retirement age on condition that they have the necessary length of social security payments and according to the amount of contributions paid during their life; the second level – pension from a mandatory accumulation system which is paid to people of retirement age who paid the appropriate contributions through their life, with the accumulated investments of funds thus made in their time; the third level – pension from an additional accumulation system to which employees and their employers make contributions on a voluntary basis; an informal level – support of elderly people by communities or their families..
The solidarity system of pensions which Is in place at present will already in the near future be unable to provide a satisfactory level of pensions given the existing demographic situation (according to specialists in 2050 the ratio of those working to pensioners in Ukraine will be 50%). Even today there are problems with financing the ever mounting scale of expenditure of paying out pensions.
The need to introduce an accumulation system of pensions is envisaged also by the Law “On Mandatory State Pension Insurance”. In accordance with this the Cabinet of Ministers submitted a draft Law which envisaged the introduction of an accumulation system of mandatory State pension insurance for parliament’s consideration. This draft law stipulated the time frame for introducing such a system, establishing the size of the deductions to the Accumulation Pension Fund, and linked tasks needing to be resolved before the system began.
Parliament passed this draft Law in its first reading on 24 April 2007. However there has been no more progress on passing the Law.
Later a Draft Law on introducing an accumulation system of mandatory State pension insurance was again table in parliament ( (№ 0942), which had been considered by the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Banking and Finance. This document envisages the introduction of an accumulation pension system from 2009.
It must be stressed, however, that there are certain circumstances urgently needing resolution between the second level of a pension system can be implemented. In the first instance, there are certain prerequisites that must be established for the effective existence of an accumulation system. For example, the Final Provisions of the Law “On Mandatory State Pension Insurance” (Item 9) provide a list of requirements which must be met in order to implement an accumulation system. Among them are circumstances of a general economic nature, mainly steady economic growth in the country and the financial stability of the solidarity system of pension insurance; providing guarantees with regard to the minimum size of the pension and maintaining a level of income in introducing an accumulation system; fulfilling the requirements regarding a number of measures of an organizational-financial and legal nature, for example, creating institutional components for the functioning of an accumulation system of pension insurance and passing legislative and normative acts required for its functioning.
Overall at the present time we can speak of the fulfilment of only two of the requirements listed: a certain degree of economic growth and ensuring payment of pensions in the solidarity system at the level of the subsistence minimum.
Extension of a system of non-State pension provisions is a problem. Over recent times this has been developing to some extent, with the number of registered funds increasing and their assets growing. However specialists say that this development is encompassing a rather narrow segment of the economy. The legally stipulated conditions for the functioning of private pension funds are entirely acceptable for employers largely of the banking sector, and can also to some extent be satisfactory for people engaged in business enterprises which use a monopoly on the market since they can make use of all the positive aspects of this type of insurance. In general the assets of such funds do not reach 1% of the annual wages fund in the country.
In order to take well-justified decisions regarding the timeframe for introducing particular elements of an accumulation system it would be wise to bear in mind experience in carrying out similar measures in, for example, Poland and Hungary. The norms regarding payment of a life pension by insurance organizations at the expense of funds from an accumulation system in these countries came into force already after the opening up of an insurance market and the introduction of European standards for insurance activities. Yet in Ukraine there are at present no insurance organizations which could properly fulfil the demands on paying a life pension.
It should be noted that this year with the adoption of the Law “On the State Budget for 2008 and on amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine”, there were some positive changes to the solidarity pension system. Firstly, the value of one year’s inclusion in the pension system rose from 1% to 1.2% from 1 January 2008, and to 1.5% from October 2008. The wages used for calculating pensions in 2004 were also more than tripled, from 306 UAH to 928 UAH. This could to some extent make it possible to move away from the previously introduced notorious “levelling” policy where the pensions of the majority of pensions were established at the level of the subsistence minimum for people who have become unable to work.
We would like however to point out recommendations made by international experts on the development of a pension system. They recommend, among other things, avoiding discrete increases in the minimum pension and introducing a rule for indexation according to which increases in the pension would be linked to the index for consumer prices calculated for groups in society with different incomes. They also speak of the need to gradually increase the retirement age, making this the same for men and women, and to review the system of contributions for the self-employed, part-time workers and season workers.
They also point to the need to improve regulation and supervision of private pension funds taking into account international experience and consultations; to pass legislation on consolidating the functions of collecting all social contributions under the Pension Fund; and finally, work needs to be renewed on raising awareness about pension reforms, including private pension funds, since the present mistrust of them is linked with an insufficient understanding of how these organizations function.
Another basic problem as regards the right to social protection is the way the State authorities ignore legislation in the area of social protection. This is seen by the failure to implement the judgment of the Constitutional Court from 9 July 2007 which found some provisions of the Law “On the State Budget for 2007” on restrictions of socio-economic rights unconstitutional.
This judgment effectively confirms the declarative nature of legislation on social protection of the population since the legal norms existing today are not being implemented with the government using different ways of getting around them. Furthermore, in the Law “On the State Budget for 2008” and “On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine” the very provisions are repeated from the law on the Budget for 2007 which shows that the State authorities have no plans to develop a mechanism for implementing the judgment of the Constitutional Court, or of carrying it out in any way.
There was no great progress in 2007 in creating a single system for social insurance. The necessary legislation was not passed for introducing a single contribution for mandatory social insurance, and the insurance funds in cases of temporary inability to work and insurance in the case of accidents at work were not merged into a single fund.
For such a system to work, mechanisms need to be developed for implementing it, and the size of insurance payments needs to be determined solely by contributions made. A single database for following insurance contributions and payments should also be created. It is important to ensure payment of contributions to the system of mandatory State insurance for all insured without exception (if contributions from the employer and / or the employee are not envisaged, then these should be paid for from the Budget), and payments should be made from the insurance funds solely for insurance cases (assistance for looking after a child, for a funeral, etc, must be funded by the Budget). Unfortunately however at the present time all of this is still at the planning stage.
There has also been no particular progress on reforming the system for providing social benefits. There is still no division in legislation into norms which guarantee certain socio-economic rights, and those which grant certain privileges linked with particular merits, position, etc. Reform of the system for providing social benefits will require:
- a move to the principle of targeted benefits and creation of mechanisms for targeted provision of benefits to each particular person;
- the use of the criterion of a threshold income per person of a household in order to increase the degree to which benefits are targeted and avoid abuse in establishing the right to receive benefits;
- creation of an integrated database on the number and range of people entitled to benefits and the value of the services which should be provided; the implementation of a record of social benefits provided according to a single register for the country;
- step-by-step introduction of a system of providing benefits in cash form (at the first stage at the choice of those entitled to them);
- a move to provision of benefits linked with compensation for damage to health in forms and amounts directly linked to the scale and type of damage caused.
The system for calculating housing subsidies which has long been outdated and not very effective also worked with problems this year. This was mainly due to a bureaucratic, complex, muddled and over-regulated system of providing this type of assistance. The inefficiency of the system of subsidies is compounded by the lack of transparency as to pricing in housing and communal services. it should be noted that there are no scientifically and economically based mechanisms for determining the size of tariffs on housing and communal services and it is therefore not clear what people are paying for, and consequently what they receive compensation for in the form of State subsidies.
There are also problems in creating a barrier-free environment for people with restricted physical possibilities. Legislation needs to be improved on ensuring such an environment as well as providing transportation for people with disability status, as well as on creating the conditions for the proper functioning of institutions providing social services. The requirements for ensuring access to people with disabilities to buildings of the State authorities, as well as to social infrastructure offices of bodies of local self-government and the Pension Fund are not complied with in full.
Strict control has not been imposed on ensuring that the needs of the disabled are taken into consideration with construction and repairs to buildings, cultural and healthcare institutions, educational institutions, residential and public buildings.
Ukraine has also not yet signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and the Optional Protocol to this.
1) Reform the system for social benefits, divide legal norms into those guaranteeing socio-economic rights and those granting certain privileges in connection with a particular position or special merits.
2) Stop the practice of suspending the form or not implementing legal norms guaranteeing socio-economic rights.
3) Allow for the full funding of guarantees of socio-economic rights enshrined in law.
The right to an adequate standard of living:
1) Improve the calculation of the subsistence minimum, approving a new subsistence basket of food items and commodities; adopt new methods for calculating this indicator.
2) Carry out reforms aimed at reducing the divide between rich and poor, as well as imbalance in remuneration for work between different fields.
3) Activate measures to support residents of rural areas.
4) Improve regulation of the quality of food items, as well as the quality and safety of drinking water;
5) Introduce measures aimed at making housing affordable.
The right to work:
1) Increase unemployment benefit to the subsistence minimum envisaged by legislation.
2) Introduce assistance in cases of partial unemployment.
3) Reduce high unemployment among the most vulnerable groups of the population, in the first instance, young people, those approaching retirement age and the disabled.
4) Increase the ratio held by wages in the GNP and in the cost value of production.
5) Bring the minimum wage into line with the demands of the European Social Charter
6) Improve work safety to reduce the number of industrial injuries, including carrying out preventive programmes
7) Improve control over adherence to standards in the area of work safety and protection and ensure swift and effective investigations into cases of injury
8) Ensure strict observance of the rights of trade unions
The right to social protection:
1) Gradually reduce the percentage of direct State funding of social needs and increase the amount financed by the population on the basis of increases in all income, first and foremost, wages, pensions and other forms of social transfers.
2) Provide all types of social assistance on a targeted basis taking into consideration the total income of the family;
3) introduce a single form of targeted social assistance for unforeseen circumstances – the death of a relative, serious illness, natural disaster, social conflict, etc
4) ensure a strict link between social benefits provided and the sources and mechanisms for compensation of their value to those providing them.
5) Introduce standardized approaches for determining the size of payments from the State Budget to compensate those providing benefit services.
6) Introduce in stages a system for providing benefits in cash form.
7) Continue reform of the pension system by introducing an accumulation level of this system and create the conditions for this.
8) Avoid discrete increases in the minimum pension and introduce a rule for indexation according to which increases in the pension would be linked to the index for consumer prices calculated for groups in society with different incomes.
9) Improve regulation and supervision over private pension funds taking international experience and consultations into consideration.
10) Create mechanisms for implementing the judgment of the Constitutional Court regarding the non-compliance with the Constitution of the Law “On the State Budget for 2007”
11) Introduce a system of single social insurance and develop mechanisms for introducing it.
12) Promote the creation of a barrier-free environment for people with restricted physical possibilities
13) Activate policy on social protection for the homeless and their re-integration into society.
 By Maxim Shcherbatyuk, UHHRU
 UKRAINE Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights E/C.12/UKR/CO/5 23 November 2007 http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/cescr39/E.C.12.UKR.CO.5.pdf
 The Law “On the subsistence level” from 15 July 1999 (with amendments and additions / The Verkhovna Rada website http://zakon.rada.gov.ua/cgi-bin/laws/main.cgi?nreg=966-14
 The countryside is being helped to die out. Information from Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=955131&cat_id=411
 Millions dissolved in water. Information from the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine, http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=1024010&cat_id=411
 The right to adequate housing (Art.11 (1)) : . 13/12/91. CESCR General comment 4. (General Comments)
 Presidential Decree from 8 November 2007 “On measures for building accessible housing in Ukraine and improving the provision of citizens with housing.”.
 Irresponsibility of officials deals a blow to the families of military servicemen. Information from the Accounting Chamber http://ac-rada.gov.ua/achamber/control/uk/publish/article/main?art_id=951813&cat_id=411
 UKRAINE Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights E/C.12/UKR/CO/5, 23 November 2007, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cescr/docs/cescr39/E.C.12.UKR.CO.5.pdf
 Information “On the level of lawfulness in the State in 2007 (in accordance with Article 2 of the Law “On the prosecutor’s office”) // the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, 10.03.2008 http://gp.gov.ua/ua/vlada.html?_m=publications&_t=rec&id=12985
 On a meeting of the board of the Industrial Accident and Occupational Diseases which have caused Disability Fund. http://fpsu.org.ua/activity/social-defence/4491492c87fc8/20080303-010/
 Information from the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine http://fpsu.org.ua/news/ukraine-world/20080201-006/
 According to information given during an extended session of the board of the Prosecutor General on observance of work safety legislation from 29 February 2008 . http://gpu.gov.ua/ua/news.html?_m=publications&_t=rec&id=13405&fp=61
 Letter from the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions N07/01-15/576 from 17.03.2008 on observance of labour rights to the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Human Rights, National Minorities and Inter-ethnic relations, http://fpsu.org.ua/news/ukraine-world/20080326-005/
 Human trafficking – an effective screen / the newspaper “Work and pay”, № 11 from 19 March 2008.
 The government wishes to achieve social justice in the size of pensions. Information from the Ministry of Employment and Social Policy . http://pension.ukrinform.com.ua/news-january-08.html
 Recommendations on economic and institutional reform. The UNDP Blue Ribbon Commission http://un.org.ua/brc/ua_adp_src/Recommendations%20to%20ministriesUK.pdf