Since 21st November there has been a wave of demonstrations in Ukraine, initially in favour of greater integration with the European Union it has developed into popular mass protests against the authoritarian government, known as ‘Euromaidan’ after the scene of the protests in city squares – maidans. Efforts to violently supress the protests have failed, there has been more recent vicious assaults in individual journalists and activists. IWGB members of East European origin easily understand why the impoverished working people are using this opportunity to take to the streets against a government of mafia style capitalists. Others in the Western labour movement are more confused by the opportunist politicians and far right nationalists who have sought to take advantage of the protests. The voice of the independent workers movement is not being heard in the western media. Published here is a statement by our friends of the independent union Zakhyst Pratsi (www.tradeunion.org.ua) which is intervening in the movement to advance clear working class interests.
APPEAL OF THE ALL-UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENT
TRADE UNION ‘ZAKHYST PRATSI’ (LABOR DEFENCE)
It is high time to fill the Euromaidan’s general democratic slogans with true social content aimed primarily at protecting working people instead of predators-oligarchs …
APPEAL of the All-Ukrainian independent trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ (Labor Defence) – after the attempt to forcibly disperse the Euromaidan.
After the provocation, associated with an attempt by the ‘Berkut’ [Special Police Battallion] to disperse by force the Euromaidan protesters, Ukraine found itself in a completely different dimension of existence. The brutal events of the night of 11th December, 2013, have only confirmed this truism. Civil society in Ukraine and around the world strongly condemns the use of violence against the ordinary citizens and youth of Ukraine. We also strongly condemn the numerous provocations and acts of vandalism by the far-right political forces, who abused the idea of the European Democratic and Social Movement in Ukraine.
It is now time to fill the general democratic slogans of Euromaidan with real social content aimed primarily at defending working people, not to protect the predator-oligarchs who now sincerely hope that the wave of popular anger will again pass them and leave untouched their unjust capitals. Now they are trying to give up their president Viktor Yanukovych to parliamentary opposition in exchange for keeping the system of exploitation and oppression of the Ukrainian workers at their workplaces, in exchange for the continuation of the brutal pressure on independent trade unions, in exchange for the continued course of anti-social reforms. Unfortunately, there is a real danger that the parliamentary opposition will be satisfied with the offer and accept another “Trojan horse” from the oligarchs. The civil society currently protecting the course for social and democratic Europe at multiple Maidans (squares) of the country is therefore requires more than ever the decisive voice of Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine.
All-Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi” is addressing all activists of the independent trade union movement and though not many, but those representatives of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, who feel responsibility for the country’s future to join efforts in the preparation of social and general democratic All-Ukrainian workers strike. Workers strikes do not start in the streets, they start directly at production sites which must be stopped in a strike! In order to achieve this, we need quality and responsible preparation, instead of a cheap PR.
All-Ukrainian Independent Trade Union “Zakhyst Pratsi” proposes immediate start of the preparations for the creation of the All-Ukrainian Coordinating Council of Trade Unions (All-Ukrainian Strike Committee) that would unite all the resources and membership base of Independent Trade Unions of Ukraine in the preparation for All-Ukrainian General Strike and further European trade union integration.
We believe, that independent unions now have to form a united social and democratic front!
We have many differences and conflicts, but the time has come to stand together!
We have no right to be in the rear of the Ukrainian liberation movement, we have no right to leave Euromaidan without slogans of social justice on the path to a social Europe!
Our slogans are simple and clear :
• Democratic Ukraine – to democratic Europe!
• Social Ukraine – to social Europe!
• Stop the imposition of the new enslaving Labor Code!
• Freedom of the independent trade union movement!
• Possible hardships of the transition to European integration must not be put on the shoulders of Ukrainian workers, but on those of Ukrainian and European capital!
• Introduction of the workers and trade union control of production, regardless of the form of ownership!
• European wages and social benefits for Ukrainian workers !
All-Ukrainian independent trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ (Labor Defence)