Ukraine has now enacted legislative changes and working time reforms that it has been considering for a long time. Ukraine is using the Russian invasion to pass laws that destroy workers’ rights. These laws have likely been planned since Zelenskij and his political party, Servant of the People (!), came to power in 2019, and with the help of the UK they have now been passed.
Of Romy Rohman.
The Ukrainian parliament recently adopted two new measures for the liberalization of labor, which worries Ukrainian workers.
In two laws passed on Monday 7/18 and Tuesday 7/19, MPs voted to legalize zero-hours contracts and took steps to strip up to 70% of the country’s workforce of the protections they previously benefited through legislation.
This means that employees of small and medium-sized enterprises are no longer covered by national laws on rights in working life. Employees must now conclude an individual employment contract with their employer. The new law also removes the legal power of unions to veto workplace dismissals.
This previously proposed bill (Bill 5371) has already been criticized by the International Labor Organization, as well as by Ukrainian and European trade unions.
But these new laws are long overdue.
In October 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met to sign a strategic partnership agreement.
The purpose of this agreement was to finance a project that aimed to change public opinion around changing the laws regarding the regulation of working time in Ukraine, so that the Ukrainian government could win with its plans.
Supported by the British, one was also drafted already in 2020 “communication plan” to “sell” anti-labour laws to a wider audience.
The communication strategy, published by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), includes an overview of the media and leading commentators on labor liberalization suggesting that the proposed reform is unpopular with the Ukrainian public.
To promote the benefits of liberalisation, the strategy suggests that the ministry should “make its messages simpler and more emotional” to the public and encourage, through informal meetings, non-governmental supporters to make more “emotional” appeals to the public. government. for liberalization.
“The UK is effectively trying to undermine the efforts of the International Labor Organization and the European Commission,” said EPSU, which claimed the UK was “funding propaganda” to “create a climate” against Ukrainian trade unions.
Zelenskiy’s economic policy is Pinochet-style neoliberalism
Ukrainian academician Olga Baycha explains in an interview with The gray area that the economic policy defended by Vladimir Zelenskij in Ukraine is an extreme form of neoliberal policy. This policy is so unpopular among ordinary people in Ukraine that Zelensky, carried by a populist wave and 73 percent of votes in 2019 just before the Russian invasion had support of barely 31 percent.
Ukrainian scholar Olga Baysha, author of Democracy, populism and neoliberalism in Ukraine: between the virtual and the real, studied Zelenskiy’s rise to power and how he wielded that power since becoming president. In the interview with The gray area discusses Baysha Zelenskiy’s embrace of neoliberalism and growing authoritarianism, how her actions contributed to the current war; its counterproductive and self-centered leadership throughout the war, the complex cultural and political opinions and identities of Ukrainians, and the partnership between neoliberals and the radical right during and after the Maidan.
In other words, there is no doubt about the class character of Zelenskiy’s regime, so is it possible that the socialist representatives of the Storting who greeted the former comedian’s propaganda speech with a standing ovation can begin to feel a bitter aftertaste?
We also know that Zelenskyi and his political party, the Servant of the People, while in power banned a total of 11 political parties accused of being anti-liberal and pro-Russian.
We wrote about it on Steigan.no here.
Zelensky bans 11 opposition parties
Now the laws have been passed, in the shadow of war and with the good help of Britain.
Some MPs from the ruling party have suggested that Bill 5371 was passed as a temporary wartime measure, argued MP Mykhailo Volynets, a member of the same Batkivshchyna party as Ivchenko, “it is clear that no one will be able to reverse this situation later in a post on Facebook.
European trade unions have long been critical of Ukraine’s growing labor liberalization since Zelenskyi and his political party, Servant of the People, came to power in 2019. Plans to change labor laws have been around for a long time, but they have not did not have a majority.
Earlier this month (July 4-5), heads of state from Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel met met, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Country Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Republic of Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States as well as most senior officials and representatives of the Council of Europe, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in Lugano to Ukraine Recovery Conference and agreed on a joint “Lugano declaration”.
Today, in July, when it was announced that there would be another vote on Bill 5371, three European trade unions expressed their deep concern about developments in Ukraine and the way whose Ukrainian government and ruling party are pursuing their program of labor liberalization.
“We are deeply concerned that regressive labor reforms will continue after the end of the state of war emergency,” the unions’ letter to the EU reads.
Further away write unions that after this change in the law, UK-backed plans to rebuild Ukraine after the war are “absolutely worthless” and will do nothing to protect workers.
At the same time, they criticize the Lugano declaration because, on the one hand, it says that Ukraine’s reconstruction plans should include a clear role for trade unions and provisions to improve conditions and train workers. However, not a single employee organization was represented at the national and international talks where the plans, signed by 40 states, were drawn up.
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