Labor legislation should be revised with special focus on the vulnerable groups – experts


Time to revise labor legislation of 1992, especially in chapters concerning discrimination based on sexual orientation, ethnicity, and employment rules for people with disabilities and internally displaced Ukrainians.

Recently Kyiv has hosted the 3rd hearing of the Civil Society Platform Ukraine-EU. Key challenges discussed were the labor market in Ukraine, its regulation, its difference from the European one and anti-discrimination legislation. This was informed by Grygoriy Osovyi, head of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, the attention was also paid to the issues of visa liberalization for Ukraine and ratification of the EU Association Agreement. “We make our opinion known to the EU official structures for them to see how civil society perceives European integration processes in Ukraine. Thus Ukrainian society can also demonstrate to its government how it sees the social and economic development of the country,” noted Alfredas Jonuska, member of European Economic and Social Committee, general director of Trade, Industry and Craft of Siauliai.

Labor market should be balanced out
Vasyl Andreev, head of the Trade Union of Workers of Construction and Construction Material Industry of Ukraine, noted that the unemployment rate in Ukraine officially reaches 9 percent. “It is slightly greater, than in the EU. However, because of the fact that not all unemployed persons are registered, this figure can be multiplied by 4,” he added. The minimum wage in Ukraine is 30% less than the average wage, while the EU recommends that this ratio be not less than 60%. “Wages in Ukraine do not play the proper role and cannot eliminate a shameful phenomenon such as poverty among the working population,” stressed Mr. Andreev. Among the challenges he also mentioned Ukraine depopulation: by 2050 population in Ukraine will be 15% (that is nearly 6 million people) smaller. “In fact, we will not have people who can work. Immigration to the EU is also a contributory factor for this process because most of these people are not going to return,” he noted.


Anti-discrimination measures are good but weak point is impartiality on sexual orientation
Ulrika Westerlund, member of European Economic and Social Committee, Union for the Rights of Sexual Minorities (TGEU), informed that the Platform had investigated the anti-discrimination legislation on vulnerable population groups: ethnic minorities, indigenous people, and people with disabilities. “The Ukrainian legislation should be amended. However, it has certain advantages as compared with the European legislation. You have the best anti-discrimination legislation on education. The main drawback is the lack of impartiality on sexual orientation in the labor legislation,” explained Ms. Westerlund. She also proposed that the Ukrainian human rights authorities should join the European network of bodies that provide equality (Equinet. European network of equality bodies)


However, Yulia Tyschenko, head of the Board, Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research, believes that everything is right in our legislation, especially as to the study of languages of national minorities. “Some changes will be introduced in the legislation that can lead to harassing minority languages. It may so happen that the Hungarian or Crimean Tatar languages will become hostages of the situation that has taken place between the Ukrainian and Russian languages,” believes Ms. Tyschenko. She also drew attention to the fact that the legislation on employment of people with disabilities should be improved, and the construction standards should be established to make urban space accessible to such people. According to Ms. Tyschenko, though there is no discrimination against minorities in Ukraine, the legislation requires “modernization”, because it was adopted as far back as 1992. “It is largely declarative, but when it comes to the rights, the situation is not so rosy. The particularly vulnerable group is Roma. There is a certain formal attitude toward them, but the declared measures are not backed up in practice. There are no funding and no combination with the Roma community,” informed Yulia Tyschenko. She also noted the possible harassment against IDPs by the host communities in employment and other areas aimed at their integration into the local communities.