Ukraine: Independent trade union raises concerns over alleged wage arrears & labor rights abuses at Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company
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Author: Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company
[Summary translation of the original Russian language response provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre] We would like to provide brief comments to your letter on behalf of two primary trade unions that work at JSC ‘Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company’ and are part of the Marine Transport Workers Trade Union of Ukraine. First of all, we would like to emphasize that all 2175 employees of JSC ‘Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company’ are members of the Marine Transport Workers Trade Union of Ukraine and have no relations with the trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’. We confirm that over the last few years the enterprise is unprofitable and has accumulated significant debts. However, over the last year and a half, wages arrears have been reduced significantly. Despite this fact, floating assets are not sufficient, which leads to very intense financial situation. The financial crisis in Europe is contributing to this. We have not frozen the payment of wages, even though the payment increases are in small increments starting from October 2012. During April of this year we paid 6.5 million hryvnas, including social payments. However, political forces are trying to use the difficult situation at JSC ‘Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company’. The so called “independent” trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ is trying to destabilise the situation at certain enterprises in the region at the behest of political forces. Trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ has misinformed the public by alleging that employees of the company work in horrible and inhuman conditions.
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- This is a response from the following companies: Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company
Author: Independent trade union ‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ (Ukraine)
…‘Zakhyst Pratsi’ Union’s coordinator…received multiple calls from the workers of ‘Izmail Servicing Station of Technical Ship Service Centre of the JSC "Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company"…The workers were seeking help and legal assistance in order to return their unpaid salary for the last several months and complained about the inhumane conditions of work breaching all existing health and safety requirements. After the union organizers’ visits to the workplace and multiple meetings with the collective, we have verified the information that workers are not being paid since September 2012 (for more than 7 months already) and health and safety requirements are not being followed by the administration. In particular, in winter the workplace premises are unheated, basic hygiene standards and safety are not met – there is no warm water, workplace instructions are nonexistent, workers are not getting obligatory uniform for physical work and are not even provided with milk for working in harmful conditions…The management of the enterprise is unable to give any concrete reply to the collective on when the salaries will be paid and if they will ever be paid at all…[T]he CEO of the UDP [Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company] - Alexander Dolgov has threatened collective with the Article 111 of Labor Code, which states that in case of non-fulfillment of output quotas may result in payroll cuts. Ignoring the absence of adequate work conditions and non-payment of 7 months salary, Mr. Dolgov has threatened and intimidated protesting workers promising to sack them as soon as finds a reason to. [The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company to respond. Company's response is below.]