Published: 14/11/2022

Note from IUF General Secretary Sue Longley: We are grateful for the overwhelming support from IUF affiliates to our Ukraine Solidarity Fund. While we fervently hope for the swift return of peace, we are renewing our call for contributions to the Solidarity Fund. For more information, please contact: [email protected]

Fighting for Freedom in Ukraine

We are in the ninth month of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to Russian military aggression. We are paying a huge price for our freedom and independence and for the peace and democratic values of every nation in Europe and in the world.

The Russian terrorist state not only kills civilians at night with missiles of various calibres and Iranian kamikaze drones, but as we approach the onset of winter, it deliberately destroys infrastructure, thermal plants and energy systems. 40% have already been destroyed; today, Kiev and other large cities and towns are without light and heat. The blackouts are scheduled and unscheduled, sometimes up to 12 hours a day.

This cannot be called anything other than a genocide of the Ukrainian people while on social media, these terrorists rejoice in their successes and call for Ukraine and its people to be wiped off the face of the earth.

We believe that the terrorist state must be isolated from the civilized world. Trade unions of such a country have no place among democratic civilized trade unions.

The situation for workers in Ukraine is extremely difficult. Unemployment is projected to reach 30% by the end of the year and may rise further next year. Moreover, unemployment in Ukraine today has a female face, with 63% of the officially registered unemployed being women, most of them between the ages of 35 and 45.

Nor is it the best situation for workers in the agribusiness sectors. More than 30% of the fields have been left uncultivated. In the occupied territories, Russian looters have stolen and removed all the grain stocks and even farm machinery. And this looting continues even now by blocking the grain corridors.

Despite the military operations, many farms and farmers worked throughout the entire season: under enemy fire, they entered the fields, sowed, harvested and processed their crops but now cannot sell their harvest, because traders have reduced the purchase prices of grain to ridiculous levels, which do not even cover the expenses for the grown crops (fuel, fertilizers and other expenses).  Unfortunately, many workers have not yet received their salaries.

In addition, a rapid inflation rate of almost 25% sharply increases the cost of living, destroying minimum wage guarantees and the standard of living of workers.

Under such difficult conditions, the Ukrainian state argues that trade unions have no right to protest during the war, continues to pass laws that sharply degrade workers’ rights and destroy the role of trade unions, social dialogue and collective and contractual regulation of labour relations. While proclaiming a course towards European integration, the fundamental ILO Conventions are violated with abandon.

In addition, the Ukrainian government, during martial law, is making significant efforts to sell off agricultural land, which is already bankrupting small businesses and farmers, raiding land, and concentrating land in the management of large holdings, which will lead to a significant increase in rural unemployment.

And these are not all the plans of our government during the bloody war. They have decided to privatize the forests (up to 100 hectares of forests can be given for unlimited use for 20 years with an option to buy them out later). Villagers and small-town residents will be left without access to natural resources, which according to the Constitution, belong to the people of Ukraine.

That is why we need the solidarity of all global union federations. I want to sincerely thank the IUF as well as the President and the General Secretary for the constant support of trade unions in Ukraine in our struggle for the rights of workers and trade unions. I would also like to thank all of you, dear sisters and brothers, for your support including the humanitarian and financial aid.

We urge multinational companies not to operate in the Russian market nor to support businesses that profit from the blood of the Ukrainian people.

We will definitely win, and it will be a joint victory over evil and barbarism which has no place in the civilized world.

Glory to the trade union movement! I am confident that we will meet you one day soon in a free and independent Ukraine!

Glory to the trade union movement! I am confident that we will meet you one day soon in a free and independent Ukraine!
Svitlana Samosud, President, Agro-Industrial Workers Union of Ukraine