Standing Strong: industriAll Europe’s Solidarity with Ukraine

By Staff
4 Min Read

On 22 and 23 April, industriAll Europe and many of our affiliates demonstrated solidarity with Ukraine and took part in the ETUC trade union summit for Ukraine in Lublin, Poland. The summit united more than 110 trade unionists from Europe and Ukraine. IndustriAll Europe’s strong and vocal delegation comprised 18 members – 12 of them from Ukraine.

At the same time, industriAll Europe’s Eastern Europe regional meeting took place in Budapest, with more than 60 participants from Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia and, despite the difficult and dangerous travel conditions, 11 Ukrainian affiliates attended and actively participated in the discussions. The large number of Ukrainian affiliates at both meetings is a clear sign of their willingness to participate fully and actively in industriAll Europe’s network.

The ETUC Summit discussed

  • The role of trade unions in the reconstruction of Ukraine through social dialogue and collective bargaining.
  • The importance of social conditionalities in the reconstruction process.
  • The role of trade unions in the EU accession process.
  • How to rebuild trade union power by organising more workers, in particular women and youth, especially under martial law.

As a result of the discussion, the ETUC published a declaration on Ukraine, which industriAll Europe fully backs. Please read the full text of the Declaration here. 

In a separate meeting, with only industriAll Europe affiliates present, the Ukrainian delegation gave an update on the situation of workers affected by the war and war crimes, including health problems, death and fear. Over the past two years, Russia has carried out large-scale missile and drone attacks against civilian and critical infrastructures in Ukraine. Most of the attacks have specifically targeted electricity facilities, resulting in severe damage and destruction of generation and network infrastructure. As a result of the numerous attacks, people in many cities and towns across the country have been left without electricity, heat and water.

In addition to the war-related atrocities, our Ukrainian affiliates reported on the huge problems related to martial law. Martial law prohibits any form of trade union action or strike and restricts freedom of speech, while the recent reform of the Labour Code undermines workers’ and trade union rights, in particular collective bargaining, and has completely abolished meaningful tripartite social dialogue. 

During the meeting, our comrades from Ukraine set out their priorities for the period ahead, both during the war and in the reconstruction period::

  • Democracy, Sovereignty and Peace.
  • Restore workers’ and trade union rights in the recent labour law “reform” and strengthen workers’ voice.
  • Effective and meaningful tripartism between trade unions, employers and government.
  • Integration into the European Union and understanding its mechanisms.

Participants agreed to continue to exchange views on the priorities on a regular basis and to take steps to ensure the smooth integration of our Ukrainian affiliates into our working structures. Concrete steps are being prepared

Isabelle Barthes, Deputy General Secretary said: “IndustriAll Europe confirms its unwavering support to our comrades, their families and all workers in Ukraine and its eagerness to involve our colleagues from Ukraine in our work. We firmly condemn the actions taken by the government and the employers to undermine workers and trade union rights. We will make sure that restoration of social dialogue and trade union rights as well as full compliance with EU values and EU social acquis is a precondition for EU enlargement” 

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