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Statement by the General Confederation of Trade Unions
19 November 2008

The General Confederation of Trade Unions numbering over 50 million workers in CIS countries expresses its utter indignation at the illegal actions taken against one of its affiliates, the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FTUU) and its regional trade union organisations 16 November 2008.

The attempts by outsiders to forcibly seize and retain trade union premises, the demolition of trade union property and equipment, and the interference in the work of union statutory bodies are a gross encroachment on trade union rights that are guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution and legislation, as well as by universally accepted international standards.

The perfect organisation and the unparalleled impudence of these unlawful acts are disquieting, particularly as they were clearly aiming to destabilize the work of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and its member-organisations, and remove the legitimately elected trade union bodies and their leaders. Their ultimate goal is also apparent, and it is the desire to bias negatively the preparations for the 6th FTUU Congress so as to pave the way to trade union leadership for destructive and profit-seeking forces.

The GCTU expresses its support for and solidarity with the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and its affiliates, and trade union officials and activists who, together with law-enforcement units, managed to take the situation under control and restore the proper order.

The incident has caused grave concern among the world public and undermined Ukraine’s prestige among workers in CIS countries and elsewhere in the world.

The General Confederation of Trade Unions hopes that President, Prime Minister, and the law-enforcement authorities of Ukraine will duly react to this flagrant violation of legitimate rights of trade unions, and protect them against any further attempts at illegal hostile seizures.

Vladimir Scherbakov, General Secretary, GCTU