| In English
Viche 2009 1

1, 2009

Recession does not Refute a Right to Labour

The parliamentary hearings About the state of observance of constitutional guarantees of labour law of citizens, prepared and organized by the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on the questions of social policy and labour, took place on December, 10, 2008, on the next day after the election of the Chairman. It was desirable to think that hearings were to become rescue for those whose rights are rudely violated by mass dismissals, they say, because of the recession. The action was devoted to the 60-th anniversary of the General Human Rights Declaration. Although, it is obvious that in Ukraine the era of hopes to the right of each to be a free man, to live in the world without violence, wars, discrimination and poverty, as the role of this document was defined by Volodymyr Lytvyn, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada at the opening of the hearing, is put aside.

The speech of Ombudsman Nina Karpachova became the vivid confirmation of this conclusion.

Daily 7 thousand employees are dismissed; the level of salaries goes down. According to the sociological researches every second citizen has already begun to save on food and about 20 percent on medicines, Ombudsman noticed.

In accordance with her data mass dismissals and diminishments of level of labour payment caused the reduction of receipts to the Pension fund which has already received by almost half a milliard hryvnyas less. Therefore Ombudsman suggests taking adequate measures as quick as possible in order to avoid the delays with the payment of pensions.

Because of the recession which has seized Ukraine there is no possibility to set the wages at the level of subsistence wage for a capable of working person, though it was foreseen in the beginning of 2009, Viktor Onishchuk, the deputy Minister of Labour and Social policy, informed the audience. So the size of minimum wages will be adjusted only in accordance with the index of inflation.

On the whole in Ukraine the average monthly salary was 1 thousand 787 hryvnyas (information for JanuaryOctober, 2008), that is by 37 percent more than for the corresponding period of 2007.

The Chairman of the Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on the questions of social policy and labour Vasyl Khara, speaking in public, admitted that violation of elementary rights of workers in Ukraine is an ordinary phenomenon. About 40 percent of workers during three last months have faced the problem of non-payment. The situation is becoming more complicated wherein a payment is given out in envelopes. In the private sector shady payment of labour, according to his words, is practiced by 96 percent of businessmen.

The level of both death-rate and general traumatism in Ukraine is extraordinarily high and does not correspond to the indexes of the developed countries. It was mentioned by Serhiy Storchak, the chairman of the State Committee on Industrial Safety, Labour Protection and Mining Supervision:

After the risk of death on 100 thousand workers we have one of the greatest indexes six. Comparing with Great Britain this is in 8.5 times more, with Japan in 3 times, with Germany in more than twice.

From the faction of the CPU the national deputy of Ukraine Spiridon Kilinkarov spoke in public at the hearings. He noticed that even the project of the new Labour Code turns an employer into a real slave-owner. Why? Workweek becomes longer by 10 hours, the mechanism of dismissal of workers becomes simpler, the pre-conditions for fictitious liquidation of enterprise appear. The new release of the Labour Code humiliates the role of trade unions, destroys the institute of collective agreement.

National deputy of Ukraine Liliya Grygorovych devoted her speech to the presentation of project of the law about the social defence of workers under the conditions of recession, worked out by the faction Our Ukraine National Self-Defense. The main point of the document in that the Fund of State Insurance in case of unemployment has to be attached to the material providing of workers who have long-term non-paid vacations. According to the bill such people are to get two third of their salary.

The representative of the deputy faction Party of regions Oleksandr Stoyan made several suggestions which, according to his opinion, in the difficult economic situation could save working places.

General Director of the Federation of Employers of Ukraine Volodymyr Grushchenko paid attention of participants of the hearings to the extremely unfavorable conditions of running of business in our state, presenting data of recent research of the World Bank in accordance with which Ukraine takes the 145-th place out of possible 170.

In opinion of Grygoriy Osovyi, the vice-chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, it was a mistake to deprive trade unions in 1994 of the right to the realization of state supervision in the field of labour protection.

The Chairman of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, the national deputy Mykhaylo Volynets paid attention of the audience to the non-observance by the owners of enterprises of mining and smelting complex of memorandum which they signed with the government.

At the hearing the national deputy Alla Aleksandrovska (faction of the CPU) suggested passing the bill due to which, in case of bankruptcy of enterprise, funds are to be above all things spent on the redemption of wages to the employees:

Now only those bills which deal with social questions, economy and recession, not political questions, will be discuss in this hall, Mykola Tomenko, the vice-chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, who conducted the parliamentary hearing, summarized.

Yuriy POTASHNIY