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Chornobyl clean-up workers begin indefinite protest in Luhansk


Photo by Konstantin Melnytsky, Kommersant

Ukrainian News reports that around 100 former Chornobyl clean-up workers have set up a tent camp outside the Luhansk Regional State Administration. They are protesting against a reduction in social benefits and demanding payment of their pension as per the law in full.  Kommersant Ukraine puts the figure at around 150, and says that people came from all over the Luhansk oblast.

On 5 September some are planning to begin a hunger strike.

As reported,   at the beginning of June amid public outcry over the controversial Kivalov-Kolesnichenko language law, the ruling majority in parliament passed a law on guarantees of implementation of court rulings which envisages cancellation of benefits for specific categories of the public. The draft law received 259 votes.

Consideration of this draft law in autumn 2011 led to protests and confrontations with riot police.  Former Chornobyl clean-up workers and veterans of the Afghanistan War tried to storm the Verkhovna Rada in September and protests continued throughout the country.  It is possibly no accident that the bill was deftly passed on a day when the mass protests against a highly contentious language bill had distracted people’s attention.

In December 2011 Ukraine’s Constitutional Court declared it constitutional for the Cabinet of Ministers to be allowed to determine the size of social payments depending on the financial resources available.

The judgement was announced on Tuesday, 27 December by the Chairperson of the Court, Anatoly Holovkin, and met with cries of “shame!” from opposition MPs present.

Mr Holovkin that Item 4 § 4 of the Final Provisions to the Law on the State Budget for 2011 complied with the Constiutiton.

This states that in 2011 the provisions for former Chornobyl clean-up workers,  children of the War, pensioners and military servicemen are applied according to the procedure and amounts fixed by the Cabinet of Ministers on the basis of the financial possibilities of the 2011 Budget.

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