Ukraine unions fight Moscow invasion, boss attacks at home

By Roy Landersen
October 16, 2023

In the midst of Moscow’s long and brutal war against Ukraine, and under cover of martial law at home, the Ukrainian capitalist class is pushing a new labor law that would weaken the labor movement. The working class is leading the fight to defend the country’s independence and battling to defend its unions at the same time.

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government is driving to strengthen the bosses’ hand over conditions of wages, hours and union rights — some protections of which have been on the books since the Soviet era. But it is working people in the tens of thousands who have volunteered to reinforce Ukraine’s armed forces to resist the invasion, and, at the same time, it is millions of workers who keep war-devastated production running.

The objective of a new draft law governing collective labor disputes is to “legitimize the lockout,” says a Sept. 26 statement by the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine. It notes that any “truly progressive changes” the draft law proposes are overshadowed by the proposals to legalize the ability of bosses to lock workers out and other restrictions on workers’ right to strike.

Working people everywhere should support both the Ukrainians’ just struggle to defend their sovereignty against Moscow’s assault and the Confederation of Free Trade Union’s fight to advance the interests of the working class.