of the international conference
«Political parties and trade union movements.
Best European practices and Ukrainian realities»
Participants of the international conference – representatives of European think tanks, partner organizations and trade union movements, public leaders, activists of SD Platform, taking into account the survey presentation «Trade unions in Ukraine. What do we know about them?», speeches and comments from two panel discussions «Trade unions and political parties/movements. Is there a need for cooperation?», «Ideology. Policy. Positioning.» note:
• The social orientation of Ukrainian economy becomes more declarative, while in practice the social model of the state is being curtailed;
• Legal relations between a person and a state, caused by the lack of fair justice, the protection of basic principles, including labor and social rights, often arouse fear;
• The state distances itself from the social protection of vulnerable groups of the population, especially the youth, the unemployed, the disabled, the pensioners and those who need help;
• Young people are forced to rely only on their own resources, because free education, like medicine is more declarative, and there is virtually no provision of the first workplace and housing;
• Populism has been and remains the main tool for the stay of destructive political players in power;
• The influence of oligarchs and big business on state processes preserves the existing political system, does not allow progressive forces to be involved in the decision-making process;
• The overwhelming majority of enterprises (small and medium-sized) in the new private sector do not have a trade union at all;
• Institutional, organizational weakness of political parties and trade union movement in Ukraine does not allow to fully protect workers in difficult socio-economic conditions;
• The current labor legislation of Ukraine provides only a minimum of social and labor guarantees and targets the parties to build relationships on a contractual basis. To a large extent the level of security of hired workers interests in relations with employers depends on the negotiating ability of trade unions.
Influence of such factors as:
- lack of a clear concept of the basic protective functions of trade unions;
- instability of the trade union movements: vertical distribution; differentiation of positions of territorial and sectoral trade unions; confrontation between "traditional" and "alternative" trade unions;
- uncertainty of actions in the process of political lobbying of hired workers interests, the process of interaction with representatives of executive authorities;
- imperfection of the legislation regulating trade union activity and labor relations;
- open competition for influence and control over trade unions in order to use their potential to mobilize people in electoral campaigns among some political players;
- high level of resource dependence, weak regulation of financial and economic activities of trade unions;
- outdated approaches in personnel, educational, information and research work;
leads to the loss of trade union capacity and provides an opportunity for speculative actions by opponents who have more power.
Taking into account the above-mentioned, the participants of the conference as representatives of progressive forces, aiming to establish a new quality of public and political life in Ukraine, consider it necessary:
1. To promote the outcomes of the international conference and inform about them key players who make political decisions in the country.
2. To carry out work on dissemination of the main ideas developed in the framework of panel discussions, through speeches in the media, conferences, discussions, round tables and joint initiatives and campaigns.
3. The organizers (FEPS, FMS, IDSP), partner organizations, as well as trade union associations, should take into account the positional materials, speeches and comments that were presented at the conference.
4. Make every effort to renew the trade union movements and modernize political parties by the internal democracy, use of new tools of communication, minimizing bureaucracy, rebranding, the formation of fresh ideas and meanings.
5. Strengthen the practical cooperation between the expert community, progressive political parties and movements, trade unions in order to protect the interests of hired workers and socially vulnerable groups in Ukraine.
Priority directions for trade unions modernization:
1. Preservation of trade union membership, termination of the members outflow from trade unions.
2. Formation of motivation for participation in trade union activity, involvement of youth and other target groups.
3. Strengthening the promotion and encouragement of participation in trade union activity.
4. Strengthening the real representation of trade unions in the public administration system, counteracting the rejection of the classical scheme of tripartite cooperation.
5. Changing the attitude to political activity, working out a mechanism for upholding the interests of workers. Resistance to attempts to preserve trade unions within the framework of one party structure.
6. Legislative consolidation of the right of workers and labor collectives to delegate their representatives to legislative and executive bodies.
7. Theoretical understanding of the functions, forms and methods of trade union work. The analysis illustrates the separation of declared functions from forms and methods of work that are determined by the real situation.
8. Organization of a modern system of training personnel using innovative teaching methods and attracting European experience. Today, there are personnel of two main types: those that have been trained in the traditions of the unitary Soviet system, and youth oriented toward independence and self-realization in the new conditions.
9. Formation of more flexible institutional capacity.
The triangular system (primary organization, territorial, sector trade union) is no longer able to provide an adequate and timely response to the pace of economic and political change. The mid-level managerial units in the trade union movement do not fully implement the main provisions of their programs. There are many reasons for this – age characteristics of managers, lack of necessary competencies, modern leadership skills, loss of communication system and, as a consequence, a decrease in authority in real economic relations.
10. Mobilizing the efforts of all interested parties to initiate discussions and adoption the social doctrine of Ukraine as a document that will serve as a guide for both trade unions and public authorities responsible for social policy in Ukraine.