war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Human rights in Ukraine 2011. XVII. THE RIGHT TO WORK



1. Overview

The right to work is one of the basic rights that define the possibilities of human progress and self-realization. It is extremely important for the state to create conditions for respect for this right and for its protection in the best way possible.

However, once again we have to recognize that the state is far from granting this right; it has systemic problems with almost all its elements and cannot improve the situation.

In particular, there are serious employment problems, when the official level of registered employment does not reflect the real situation and the level of hidden unemployment is high. In fact, vacancies are low-paid jobs and job-seekers cannot feed themselves and their families. The unemployment benefits do not provide the minimum conditions for human survival.

Equally important is the problem of the lack of decent payment for labor. It is difficult to talk about reproductive, motivating and social role of wages, if the major part of Ukrainians draw salary below minimum wage, and, according to official figures, half of the people get below UAH 2,000. Moreover, almost half of the income consists not of wages, but of certain social benefits. And if in this context we consider the problems of adequate subsistence level and, correspondingly, the minimum wage, the situation looks even grimmer.

In the meantime the government cannot solve the problem of the Unified tariff, especially on the low minimum wage in this system, and the problem of repayment of wage arrears, which exist in Ukraine. All this, as well as continuous violations of the rights of workers in enterprises, organizations, and institutions of all forms of ownership lead to a significant weakening of the protection of labor rights.

The occupational safety also remains one of the thorny problems. In Ukraine, there remains a high level of occupational injuries, including death, and many occupational diseases. The performance of the state in the field of prevention of injuries and ensuring acceptable sanitary conditions is rather poor.

There also remain vulnerable workers working abroad. Currently the state pursues an ineffective migration policy; in fact, there are no effective mechanisms of migration records, which would provide real information on the number of migrants. In many cases there are no bilateral agreements on the protection of social and labor rights of migrant workers with receiving countries. Some of the important international conventions in this area have not been ratified by Ukraine.

In the context of numerous violations of the right to work the activities of trade unions as organizations aimed at protecting migrant workers’ rights acquires special importance. Unfortunately, this year the state, instead of backing the activities of these organizations, tried to limit their influence and create barriers to some trade unions. However, the lack of sufficient accord within the trade unions led to uncoordinated efforts and lack of effectiveness of their actions.

2. Guaranteeing employment

The employment market remained volatile in 2011. Although the number of vacancies increases for many positions, the employment crisis is still there. In particular, the current average demand rate makes 0.7 (i. e. 100 CVs per 70 vacancies). And in the short term the number of applicants will remain bigger than that of vacancies. In such circumstances, the employers are not motivated to open new jobs, rather quite the contrary.

At the same time, according to official statistics, the labor market is in no danger. As of early summer the employment centers registered 565,912 persons, while between January and May this year the employers registered with the employment centers 589 thousand vacancies.

According to the portal, the number of vacancies in the first half of 2011 has doubled. However, the problem is that demand is unevenly distributed by region, and not everybody can take advantage of vacancies.

Thus, 78% of vacancies in the country for the product manager propose jobs in the capital. The share of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Lviv is 17%. The share of other regions is only 5%. The web programmers are most needed in Kyiv (49%), Kharkiv (11%), Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv (8% each), Odesa (6%), and Donetsk (4%). All other regions account for 14% only[2].

The structure of employment also does not meet modern requirements. Almost every third worker goes into trading business. 60% of all marketing jobs relate to Kyiv. Other 30% make the share of other cities with a million and more inhabitants. All other towns make 10%.

Therefore it is important to note that in Ukraine there is no effective mechanism to determine the need for human resources. Many functionaries consider the state order for training as a way of redistribution of budget money.

According to experts, including Olexiy Zvolinsky, senior partner of GP Group, the quality of labor market information is insufficient. They only quantify the need for specialists, while there are no methods of centralized quality data collection (i. e., qualification requirements, knowledge, and skills requirements for specific positions). As a result of modernization of production, today even locksmiths have different specialization. Moreover, the definition of quality characteristics of specialists for the needs of economy is in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, which has no mechanisms for such data

According to O. Zvolinsky, the problem is that in Ukraine the connection among government agencies, businesses and actual population is broken. The data of the State Statistics Committee do not reflect the real state of things.

“The labor market data are sent from the employment centers to the SSC, from there to the agencies and ministries, including the Ministry of Economy, which forms the state order for training of specialists, and then it is sent to the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, which, in its turn, sends its order down to universities. The initially corrupted data are edited (and altered) in corresponding agencies; there fore the final number of needed specialists is distorted,” explained the ekspert[3].

The lack of effective mechanism for determining the need for specialists is closely related to the problem of growing unemployment among young people. Almost one in five (18.8%) Ukrainians aged 15 to 24 does not work anywhere and does not study, according to First Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine Vasyl Nadraha.

In Ukraine, every third young person, who wants to work, cannot do it. The results of some polls even maintain that the fifth part has lost confidence that it can apply its efforts somewhere. According to statistics, Ukraine is second on the European list of youth employment decline[4].

Salary is also a weak point in employment. The recruiters unanimously maintain that, although the correlation between the vacancy and sent resumes opens great opportunities for employment, there are thorny problems of fees. The demand for professionals goes back to 2008 figures, while the salary offered in most cases is lower than before.

The recent studies have shown that 72% of respondents are very dissatisfied with their salary levels, 18% — dissatisfied, 6% — partially satisfied and only 4% — are satisfied. The most dissatisfied with their salaries are teachers, municipal officials, doctors, recruiters, office workers. Low wages can explain the lack of correlation among the labor market indicators. So, the survey of the labor market in the Eastern region of the country shows that nearly 40,000 people of working age have no income for five years already; it makes almost 20% of the total working population. Of course, they are not registered with the employment centers and make some money on the side. According to the portal, 87% of respondents would like to train for a new profession, and fee is the main motive of this desire[5].

It is noteworthy that one third of respondents indicated the desire to change the scope of activity, since the present work prevents achieving the desired level of income. And the situation is not improving at that. Of course, it became unacceptable in 2011 to have the same income as in 2008, while inflation doubled during that time. Moreover, as the candidates for vacant places maintain, the new job, following the personnel cut, introduces much more official responsibilities.

Similarly, in the context of employment, we cannot avoid the existence of hidden unemployment in Ukraine. Very often the official statistics show only the top of the iceberg. There are numerous cases of involuntary underemployment, particularly on leave without pay, or of part-time work. According to official data of the State Statistics Committee, there are more than 300,000 such people[6] and the real figures are much higher. Moreover, many people work in the informal sector (natural farming, non-permanent making some money on the side in the city. even the President of Ukraine acknowledged this problem mentioning the hidden unemployment increase[7].

It should be noted that it looks like the employment problems are not a priority for the government. According to analysts, the labor market lags behind the real economy for two or three years. And they started imposing order on the country in those areas and in such a way that employment not only failed to increase but went down (it would suffice to have a look at business climate). The minimization of losses caused by the crisis does not smooth the problem of employment and aggravates it. The cuts in administrative staff, the so-called network optimization in education and health care, adoption of pension code, narrowing of self-employment opportunities, which greatly increased the insurance record, aggravate the situation even more.

3. State aid to unemployed

In 2011, in Ukraine, they continued ignoring the legal provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On the State Social Standards and State Social Guarantees” and the Law of Ukraine “On Compulsory State Social Unemployment Insurance” stipulating that the amount of such aid cannot be lower than the subsistence minimum for able-bodied person.

Although the sum of the aid increased in comparison with 2010, but this UAH30-50 increase did not solve the problem and in Ukraine the minimum unemployment benefit is still less than the subsistence minimum.

Thus, the payments to persons duly qualified as unemployed were as follows: as of January 1 —  UAH 510, April 1 —  UAH 520, October 1 —  UAH 534, December 1 —  UAH 544, and for insured persons : as of January 1 — not less than UAH 714, April 1 — no less than UAH 729, October 1 — not less than UAH 748, 1 December — no less than UAH 762, but not above the existing average wage for all types of economic activities in the relevant field for the last month. At the same time, in 2011 the living wage made as of January 1 — UAH 894, April 1 — UAH 911, October 1 — UAH 934, and as of December 1 — UAH 953.

4. Ensuring decent working conditions

The work force in Ukraine is the cheapest in Europe. The salary of 6% of Ukrainians is below UAH 960, which is less than the minimum wage. The salary of almost half of Ukrainians is below UAH 2,000. Only 15% of population draws the salary of UAH 4,000 and more. Every year, the official income of Ukrainians goes down, according to the State Statistics Committee. The workers in fisheries and agriculture get the lowest wages. The financiers, industrialists and professionals in real estate draw higher salaries. The Chernivtsi, Vinnytsia and Ternopil oblasts remain the poorest. according to the State Statistics Committee the richest people live in the Eastern Ukraine and in Kyiv.

Distribution of the number of employees according to their wages
for September 2011 (cumulative)

Fig. 1. Average number of employees by salary

The experts maintain that the cheap labor is one of the key factors of competitiveness of national economy, which is unacceptable for the European state.

In fact, the share of wages in the cost of Ukrainian products is very low — about 10%, whereas in developed countries it reaches 40% and more.

Of late the matter has been rarely thrashed out, though official figures of the State Statistics Committee for 2011 indicate that the situation has worsened. In the first quarter of 2011 the structure of the transaction costs of sales was as follows:

—  material costs: 28.4%;

—  cost of goods and services purchased for resale and sold without further processing: 53%;

—  amortization: 2.9%;

—  labor costs: 5.9%;

—  social contribution: 2.1%;

—  other operating expenses: 7.7%.

So, the share of wages made only 5.9%, and with deductions to social funds, which are proportional to wages, only 8%.

By industry, the share of wages in total operating cost of production sales made as follows: industry — 7.7%, agriculture — 25.5%, construction — 7.7%, trade — 1.8%, hotel and catering industry — 20.1%, transport and communications — 17.3%, financial activities — 1.2%, real estate — 7.4%, education — 40.5%, medicine — 26.4%, and public utilities — 26%.

And in the last two years the share of wages in the cost of Ukrainian goods continued to drop. During the first quarter of 2011 it made 5.9%, while the same for 2010 was 6.3%, and 2009 — 6.8%[8].

One way of increasing the share of wages in the self-cost consists in priority increase in wages compared to the rate of increase in self-cost and disposal price of products.

That is, the faster is the increase of real inflation-adjusted wages, the greater becomes its share in the self-cost of domestic products. In this respect the situation in Ukraine is not the best one: the real wages growth retardation has become a trend now.

Thus, in March 2011 as against the corresponding months of 2010, real wage growth was 11.3%, in April 9.7%, and in May only 5.2%. So, in three months the growth rate of wages more than halved.

If for the sake of calculation we use not the official inflation, probably greatly underestimated, but a real one, there may be even fall in real wages.

Clearly, the Ukrainian business owners only welcome such dynamics of real wages. The quick-growing salaries of employees reduce the profits of companies and hit tycoons in their pocket.

In turn, the State does next to nothing to increase the share of wages in production self-costs, and therefore this negative trend continues.

It is noteworthy that wages still makes just over 40 percent of population’s incomes (Figure 2). That is, in fact, the motivational function of wages as the main component of total wage and salary income of population has been lost.


— Salary

— Profit, mixed income

— Income from property (received

— Social assistance and other transfers


2010: 2nd quarter


Structure of income


2011: 2nd quarter




—   Salary

—   Profit, mixed income

—   Income from property (received

—   Social assistance and other transfers




Fig. 2. Structure of revenues naselennya[9]

There have remained thorny issues of the level of wages in the public sector. This was also recognized by the Verkhovna Rada Committee for Social Policy and Labor, who noted in 2011 that the government decisions led to the destruction of the tariff system in the public sector and wage leveling, and that the objectives of introducing a single tariff were not achieved.

Now the category of the poor includes educated, qualified and skilled full-time workers (employees of budgetary institutions and organizations of education, culture, science, health care, social workers, civil servants, engineers, etc.). Because of low salaries and pensions they have no opportunity to feed their families and provide them with necessities under conditions of rapid rise in prices and tariffs[10].

For example, the teachers’ salary does not correspond to the average for industry as defined by law. This past March the teachers went on a protest against the manipulations with the wage rates distribution. In connection with these rallies the officials promised to solve this problem. However, the analyses of indicators for 2011 shows that the hopeful promises are mere words[11].

As of September 2011, the first wage category from which, multiplying by coefficients corresponding categories, they count the teacher’s salary and get UAH 641, which is significantly below the minimum wage to the tune of UAH 960. That is the manipulations with the wage rates distribution are going on. By the end of 2011, the first wage grade had to go up to UAH 704, which again was below the minimum wage.

There was also a problem with accrued payroll. According to the Ministry of Social Policy, the Ukrainian employers owe their subordinates UAH 1.1 billion as of September 2, 2011. According to State Statistics Committee, the overdue wages continued to mount as of October 1, 2011 and made UAH 1.180 billion[12].

More particularly the rights of employees are violated at the small enterprises with less than 50 employees. According to Andriy Cherkasov, Head of the State Service on Labor, the violations of labor legislation happen the oftenest at the restaurants, hotels, construction and agriculture[13].

However, there are many cases of arrears and inefficient actions of the state at the state enterprises. Specifically, in September 2011 the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine carried out inspections of eight central executive bodies reviewing the observance of labor legislation at the state-owned enterprises related to their jurisdiction. As a result of this inspection the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine established that the indicated central authorities failed to ensure proper control over the timely payment of wages at the subordinate enterprises.

For example, the inspectors found that the arrears of wages to economic players that were subordinate to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Ukraine since the beginning of the year rose to UAH 25.3 million, and to the Pension Fund of Ukraine up to UAH 40.2 million[14].

All this shows that the activities of the state to reduce debt in many cases are ineffective.

5. Guarantees of job safety

The guarantees of job safety are a problem for Ukraine. The situation with the state of occupational injuries in Ukraine during the last two years remains alarming. During 2009–2010, they registered 28,813 accidents, of which 24 319 (84.4%) related to production. 2,634 accidents (9.1% of all accidents) had fatal consequences, but only 41.3% of them were associated with production.

According to official data of various departments of the State Inspectorate for Mining Industry, the overall injury rate went slightly down[15]. However, even the official statistics show the increase of this index in many areas. In particular, the incidence of fatal injuries in the coal industry of Ukraine for 9 months of 2011 increased by more than 20% compared to the same period in 2010. During this time, at the Ukrainian coal mines there were 3218 cases of injuries, of which 125 were fatal[16].

Therefore, while the on-the-job traumatism has decreased, the risk remains unacceptable. The growing number of non-occupational accidents and increase of workers’ resort to the court testify to concealment of injuries.

The occupational injuries cross the enterprise up to additional expenses and inspections by the supervisory bodies. That is why the administration goes any length to avoid related problems and occupational injuries with the victim’s consent are presented as domestic ones.

To avoid liability, the insurers would rather hide the accidents than secure job safety. The employees often play passive and do not take care about their own future being ignorant about their rights and conditions for which their employer is responsible.

Often the wage earners have no labor relations with the employer; therefore the on-the-job injuries are simply not recorded. At the same time, according to experts’ estimates, the mortality after the on-the-job injuries among these workers is three times higher than official data[17].

Representatives of the territorial offices of the State Inspectorate for Mining Industry that control the commissions for special investigation of the accidents are also not interested in association of accidents with production, since until recently this figure was the main parameter of their activities.

Therefore, in 2011, we have examples of strange investigations of traumatism. For example, there was a of fatal accident on July 3, 2011, which occurred with the employee N in the central skip pit of the bin trestle of the blast furnace number 3 of the blast-furnace plant of PJSC “Yenakiyevo Metallurgical Works.” As a result of inspection, the accident was not related to production, and therefore, was not considered an insured event. The Commission, which investigated the case, concluded that the dead person N was at the distance of less than two meters from the dip border without adequate temporary railing, not fulfilling the requirements of State Standard 12.4.059-89 and failed to comply with clause 2.6 of Instruction I-4-80; therefore he himself was to blame for the accident[18].

The incomplete and biased investigation data, especially in the case of investigations of fatal accidents, false conclusions about the causes of injury and death of workers lead to the fact that the results of such investigations produce incomplete (or even formal) list of measures intended to prevent industrial accidents.

By the way, the findings of special investigation commissions virtually are not brought to the notice of labor protection professionals working with other companies, which contributes to the emergence there of similar accidents.

Another problem is that many employees work in conditions that do not meet sanitary standards. Also many people work in conditions that exceed harmful levels. For example, in the Volyn Oblast of 75,000 workers in industry, construction, agriculture, transport and communications 19,500 people work in conditions that do not comply with sanitary norms. This means that almost one in four Volyn residents works in unhealthy conditions[19].

Another difficult aspect of providing necessary guarantees of safety is that the funds for preventive measures intended to prevent accidents are allocated on the leftover principle. As a result, such precautions in many cases are not taken or are realized ineffectively.

For example, at the roundtable in Chernihiv “On the state of industrial safety, prevention of occupational injuries in the oblast and ways to improve safety management” Deputy Director of Higher Training College in Chernihiv told that due to the existence of unsettled issues at the level of central authorities employees in his educational institution have to undergo medical examinations at their own expense. Also, the college’s list of staff does not include a labor protection engineer, although a large amount of work needs such a specialist[20].

In the context of the problems with the financing of measures to improve labor safety it should be noted that the activities of the Fund of Ukraine for Social Insurance against Industrial Accidents and Occupational Diseases also was not effective enough in this area. This was confirmed in the conclusions of the Chamber of Accounts of Ukraine[21].

The reasons for this state of labor safety are complex. At the regional level, such reasons include insufficient amounts of funding for improving the safety and sanitation in the workplace by both private and public employers, the lack of employers’ liability for breach of legislation on labor safety, total reduction of units and services responsible for labor safety in the administrations at all levels, and dismantling of industrial medicine. Another reason consists in the fact that a significant number of vehicles, machinery, and means of transportation do not meet safety requirements, and their continued operation poses a threat to people. Often, modern production is organized along such lines that workers have to sacrifice protection and safety for high production plan[22].

6. State monitoring of labor rights

In times of economic crisis in Ukraine, the number of violations of labor rights has greatly increased. According to the State Tax Administration, over 95% of employers in Ukraine violate labor legislation[23].

Recently, there occurred a steep rise in illegal sacking, untimely salaries at many public enterprises; the forced unpaid leaves of workers have become a mass phenomenon. The private entrepreneurs do not comply with labor legislation: labor relations are not formalized as prescribed by law, the requirements of the Labor Code on working time and rest periods of employees, conditions, size and timing of payment of wages etc. are violated. Thence the increasing value of monitoring and supervision of compliance with labor legislation.

However, today, the workers’ rights are violated at almost every enterprise, and authorities responsible for securing legitimacy in this area respond but sporadically. Thus, there is an urgent need to reform the system of state control over compliance with labor rights.

7. Protecting labor rights of migrant workers

The Ukrainians occupy the tenth place among those who emigrate to developed countries. Such is the conclusion of experts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)[24].

Therefore, for Ukraine the issue of labor migration is a topical one and needs special attention by both the state and public at large.

However, the analysis of current migration shows that today the state is not ready for an effective migration policy, and its possibilities in the field of migration management are very limited or blocked due to imperfections in some cases and lack of appropriate mechanisms of management[25].

The active capacity of migration policy depends on many components, especially the availability of reliable information on migration within the country and abroad. It also depends on the pragmatic goal-setting and precise targeting of migration policy, clear vision of tasks that need to be tackled, correct choice of priorities and methodologies to be used for the task.

Unfortunately, a fat lot might be told about the active capacity of migration policy, and, correspondingly, and about the effective protection of migrant workers. Although in 2011, the President of Ukraine approved the Concept of migration policy, the legislative mechanisms regulating migration processes in Ukraine, which would be based on this concept, have not yet been worked out. There is also no mechanism of permanent monitoring of labor emigration.

In addition, Ukraine has not yet ratified the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 1990. This important international instrument is of great value for Ukrainian migrants outside Ukraine, whose number, according to different estimates, ranges from 5 to 7 million.

Unlike the ratified at the insistence of the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights the European Convention on Legal Status of Migrant Workers (1977), the United Nations Convention applies to all migrant workers, both legal and illegal. And 90% of all migrants outside Ukraine, our countrymen, and inside the country, immigrants, are working illegally. The United Nations Convention for the first time sets out the rights that apply to certain categories of migrant workers and their families, including frontier, seasonal workers, seamen employed on foreign vessels, workers employed in offshore platforms, as well as self-employed workers.

Ukraine’s accession to the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families is extremely important in the context of the introduction of new effective mechanisms to protect migrant workers’ rights, promote more effective protection of rights of Ukrainian workers abroad and foreign citizens and stateless persons, who stay in Ukraine for employment purposes.

Also not ratified is the Convention of the International Labor Organization (2006) on labor in maritime navigation.

In addition, the problem is that there are still no concluded bilateral agreements on social security with the countries in which the number of Ukrainian immigrants is the biggest, particularly with Poland, Federal Republic of Germany, Hellenic Republic, and State of Israel. The agreement on social security with Portugal and Estonia is also not ratified[26].

Therefore, the citizens of Ukraine going abroad no longer feel that they are under the protection of their country and any moment can count on its aid.

8. Ensuring the rights of trade unions

The situation of trade unions in Ukraine remains rather complicated. 2011 was marked by a number of criminal proceedings initiated by the authorities in connection with the activities of trade unions in Ukraine.

In particular, in connection with this the Joint representative body of all-Ukrainian trade unions and trade union associations for collective bargaining and social dialogue at the national level addressed an official letter to the President of Ukraine about systemic violations of trade union rights, intervention of public authorities and their officials in internal statutory activities of trade unions.

It is noteworthy that the Joint representative body of trade unions unites representatives of 60 national trade unions and trade associations representing over 10 million union members.

The appeal states that the violation of trade union rights in Ukraine has become a routine matter for public authorities who ignore national legislation on the rights of these organizations. The authors give an example of how the Public Service of Maritime and River Transport of Ukraine initiated the establishment of alternative trade unions of workers of maritime transport (united) forcing current union members to join it and how the officials of the Ministry of Education, Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine illegally demanded from the educational institutions in Kirovohrad Oblast to provide information on the sums of union dues.

The appeal also maintains that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and its local bodies deserve special concern; for a long time now they have been exerting systematic and coordinated pressure on the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and its member organizations through intervention in the internal activity and persecution of union leaders.

According to Vice Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine Hryhoriy Osovy, on August 26, 2011 the law enforcement officers accompanied by an armed unit searched the premises of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, which resulted in illegal removal of all accounts and records and groundless initiation of criminal proceedings. According to him, “they conduct exhaustive checkups of trade union activities, especially the use of their property virtually in all regions of Ukraine. They bring criminal cases before the court, organize trials intended to deprive trade unions of their property which they own for many years on legal grounds.”

The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine has repeatedly appealed to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and also to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine demanding to take emergency response measures to stop illegal actions of certain representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine and local prosecution bodies.

According to the Federation of the Trade Unions of Ukraine, all complaints about disregard for the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, international rules of law, court decisions on the legality of ownership of the property of Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine did not catch on with the top authorities. All attempts by unions to present the background info at the meeting of the National Tripartite Social and Economic Council were not sustained by other social partners, especially administration officials. Unfortunately, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine turned down the motion on parliamentary hearings in October 2011 “On the observance of trade union rights in Ukraine, including implementation of the Convention of the International Labor Organization No. 87 “On Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize”[27].

National Correspondent of the International Labor Organization in Ukraine Vasyl Kostrytsia also opines unfavorably about the protection of trade union rights noting “a significant increase in cases of direct interference by the authorities in the statutory activities of trade unions that is a direct violation of the Conventions #87 on freedom of association and protection of organization and No. 98 on the right to association in trade unions and collective bargaining, which back in 1956 were ratified by Ukraine.[28]

Also, Mr. Vasyl Kostrytsia noted that on August 15, 2011 the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a Resolution “On creation of the Commission on inventory of the property of all-union public associations (organizations) of the FSU, which had been transferred to their jurisdiction, possession and/or use by a governmental authority of the FSU and the Ukrainian SSR.” The government decision caused concern among the public, as it created the preconditions for violation of the Article 41 of the Constitution of Ukraine. According to the representative of the International Labor Organization, the acts of the Cabinet of Ministers were regarded by the representatives of public associations (organizations) as an attempt to “nationalize” (confiscate) property that belonged to them legally.

“The continued complaints from trade unions to the International Labor Organization testify to the poor quality control mechanisms used by the public authorities to respect fundamental rights and guarantees of citizens to freedom of association in trade unions,” said V. Kostrytsia.

During the committee hearings on administrative compliance with the trade union rights the experts drew attention to a number of unresolved issues at the legislative level. In particular, following the adoption of the Civil Code of Ukraine and the Law “On state registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs” by the Verkhovna Rada the legal conflicts erupted, including the settlement of the issue of legalization of trade unions and their associations and enjoying the status of juridical entity. After the enactment of the Tax Code in January 2011 the tax authorities acquired a right to interfere with the statutory and financial activities of trade unions. They limelighted that the Code allowed the State Tax Administration to file claims for termination of individual primary trade union organizations as legal entities to establish full control over the trade unions’ draft on funds[29].

9. Recommendations

1. To increase the size of unemployment benefits up to the minimum subsistence level stipulated by law.

2. To reduce the high unemployment, especially among the most vulnerable people, primarily youth, preretirement persons, and persons with disabilities.

3. To adopt amendments to some laws and remove discriminatory provisions concerning the registration of unemployed rural population.

4. To increase the proportion of wages in GDP and production price.

5. To harmonize the minimum wage as required by the European Social Charter.

6. To ensure effective implementation and differentiation of wages in the public sector through the application of a uniform tariff; to stop the practice of setting salaries (base wage rates. of employee of the 1st tariff category in an amount below the sum fixed by the law on wages.

7. To improve wages in bodies of state power in order to better social protection of ordinary workers, eliminate hidden wages introduced through various bonuses and additional payments that are more dependent on loyalty to the bosses than on productivity.

8. To decrease the arrears of payments in the public sector and arrears of enterprises and organizations of all forms of ownership.

9. To improve the labor safety system in order to reduce occupational injuries and occupational diseases, including emendation of legislation in this area, as well as realization of preventive measures.

10. To improve monitoring of standards and requirements in the field of occupational safety and carry out fast and efficient investigation of the cases of traumatism.

11. To improve the public monitoring of labor rights, develop effective mechanisms to tackle these violations.

12. To conclude bilateral agreements on employment and social protection of migrant workers with the countries, in which our compatriots are seeking jobs and with which we still have no such agreements.

13. To ratify international instruments necessary to strengthen the protection of migrant workers in the area of employment and social protection.

14. To ensure the trade union rights and to promote the development of strong independent trade unionism.



[1]  Prepared by M. Shcherbatiuk, UHHRU.

[2]  Nadiya Hotsuyenko “Weak sections of labor” “Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukrayina”, No. 34, September 23, 2011

[3]  L. Surzhyk, O. Onyshchenko “Top secret state order” “Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukrayina”, No. 33, September 16, 2011

[4]  Vasyll Nadraha “How to hire the lost generation” “Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukrayina”, No. 30, August 26, 2011

[5]  Nadiya Hotsuyenko “Weak sections of labor” “Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukrayina”, No. 34, September 23, 2011

[6]  The data of the State Statistics Committee

[7]  Yanukovych called for tougher control of wages in envelopes

[8]  Ekonomichna pravda “Salaries of Ukrainians: from bad to worse” 290916/view_print/

[9]  The data of the State Statistics Committee

[10]  The Committee on Social Policy and Labour found unsatisfactory the work of the Cabinet of Ministers on implementation of the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On Urgent Measures Intended to Eliminate Poverty” ? art_id = 259301 & cat_id = 37486

[11]  Liliya Hrynevych “Like salary, like education” “Dzerkalo tyzhnia. Ukrayina” No. 35, September 30, 2011

[12]  Arrears of wages increased by 2,2%,2-90232. Html

[13]  Within a month the debt of Ukrainian employers to their subordinates decreased by UAH70 million.

[14]  The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine continues working to resolve violations of legislation on wages and payment of contributions for compulsory pension insurance

[15]  Analysis of occupational injuries for 9 months of 2011

[16]  In the coal sector the fatal injuries increased by 20%

[17]  The hidden occupational traumatism and its consequences

[18]  “Trade Union News” “Investigation of accidents: who is to profit by it?”

[19]  In Volyn one in four residents works in in hazardous conditions

[20]  Labor safety problems discussed in Chernihiv

[21]  Chamber of Accounts of Ukraine “Who needs more money: injured persons of industrial accident or enterprizes?”

[22]  Labor safety problems discussed in Chernihiv

[23]  95% of employers violate labor legislation in Ukraine

[24]  Ukrainian are leaders among migrants in Russia and Poland

[25]  Regulation of Labor Migration. UKRAINE: WAYS AND SOLUTIONS.

[26]  Speech by First Deputy Minister for Social Policy of Ukraine Vasyl Nadraha at the conference “The Future of Migration in Ukraine”

[27]  The Joint Representative Organ of trade unions urges the President of Ukraine to prevent further violations of trade union rights

[28]  Issues of compliance of public authorities with the trade union rights were discussed at the hearing in the Committee on Social Policy and Labor

[29]  Issues of compliance of public authorities with the trade union rights were discussed at the hearing in the Committee on Social Policy and Labor


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