Proposals to the meeting with representatives of European Economic and Social Committee Kyiv, 21 November 2013

Proposals to the meeting with representatives of
European Economic and Social Committee
Kyiv, 21 November 2013

Most part of the debate around signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in Ukrainian civil society has until now been focused on the civilizational aspect of this step and the opportunities arising to strengthen democratic institutions and practices in Ukraine. Along with such considerations, a critical component of the Association Agreement is a Deep Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
This agreement will have specific short- and long-term socio-economic impact on the Ukrainian economy and, consequently, employment and economic well-being of every wage worker in Ukraine. While in the long run we can talk about opportunities arising for Ukrainian companies in the single market and new jobs creation, in the short term we can also expect a number of adaptive risks for certain sectors of the Ukrainian economy and the labour market as a whole. Therefore, during the adaptation period after signing the Agreement, trade unions should play a key role to develop mechanisms to protect and promote the rights of employees during possible reorganizations or liquidations of some enterprises under new competitive pressures.
We are convinced that specific socio-economic consequences for every wage worker in Ukraine will determine the attitudes of the population and support for  further European integration processes.

The Ukrainian Labour Code currently in place contains sufficient provisions to protect employees and their representative trade unions. However, even with  appropriate legislative framework in place, Ukrainian trade unions are facing violations of laws and labor rights of employees by companies and violations against trade union organizing. According to the experience of trade unions, members of our National Trade Unions Alliance (VAP), which are active in private (commercial) enterprises and multinational corporations , including European, we can talk about  generally higher wages and social security security on such enterprises in Ukraine. However, our unions all too often face anti-union initiatives and technologies that are being used by the local management even in these companies. Therefore, during the adaptation periodwe find it crucial to improve the interaction of Ukrainian trade unions and our European colleagues and especially learn from the experience of adaptation in the the EU Member States that have joined recently, such as Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic states.
This solidarity of European trade unions can help the development of effective mechanisms of adaptation and protection of employees in Ukraine.
Therefore, National Trade Union Alliance would like to put forward following proposals for further discussion with the EESC:
• To establish an advisory body including Ukrainian and European trade unions, employers and Ukrainian government representatives to monitor and develop  necessary mechanisms to adapt and respond swiftly to violations of labour and trade unions rights in the adaptation period;
• Consider expansion of framework agreements concluded between the European trade unions and companies in the EU to include Ukrainian branches of these companies;
• Conduct a separate study on potential job creation by European companies in Ukraine after the signing of the Agreement (expectations evaluation).
• Conduct a study of short- and long-term impacts of the Association Agreement by sectors of the Ukrainian economy in terms of impact on employment and labour and trade union rights rights;
• To prepare an international conference in Kyiv with Ukrainian and European trade unions to share experiences on labour right protection in the adaptation period;
• To facilitate extensive debate in all regions of Ukraine in a form of roundtables to assess risks and new opportunities arising for the Ukrainian trade unions and wage workers after the signing of the Agreement;
• To organize a discussion on the state of social dialogue in Ukraine with the representative and unrepresentative (classified as such according to the Law "On Social Dialogue in Ukraine"), parties of the social dialogue;
• Conduct a study and prepare a report on the main types of violations of labour and trade union rightsns, which have systemic character in Ukraine and evaluate possible solutions after the signing of the Agreement. In particular, focusing on the following issues :
?    shadow employment;
?    non-payment and delays of wages in private and public enterprises;
?    social vulnerability of internal migrant workers;
?    precarisation of labour and atypical employment;
?    discrimination in the workplace;
?    Anti-union technologies used by the employers and state registration bodies to prevent trade union organizing