Parliamentary committee supports demands of health workers' union of ukraine

The Health Committee of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine reviewed the appeal of PSI affiliate, the Health Workers’ Union of Ukraine, to assist in meeting the healthcare workers’ demands towards public authorities made at the All-Ukrainian Protest on 19 September.

More than 10 regional trade union organisations have been invited to discuss this issue. Speaking about the All-Ukrainian Action of the Union, its President Viktoriia Koval stressed that the decision to hold the protest was not spontaneous. For more than a year the Union has been in collective labour dispute with the Government registered by the order of the National Mediation and Reconciliation Service on 29 September 2016 under No. 282-p. During this time, no reconciliation procedure has taken place. The first meeting of the Conciliation Commission to consider the collective labour dispute between the Union and the Government was held only on 18 September this year.

"We are accused to be against the reform. That is not the case! The Union is convinced that we really need the reform. Another thing is that it should be carried out in the legislative field in compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine taking into account national peculiarities, be scientifically sound, take into account the views of both trade unions and employers," Viktoriia Koval emphasised.

All the demands of the Union could be met within the framework of social dialogue, but this was not done, and now the Union is accused of having organised the protest exclusively against the healthcare reform.

During the protest, the Union representatives met the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Rozenko that resulted in certain agreements. The Deputy Prime Minister assured that all necessary decisions on payment of wage arrears to healthcare workers would be approved by the Government in the near future.

The Chair of Parliamentary Committee Olga Bohomolets stressed that reforms could not be carried out by ‘breaking the knee’. The healthcare workers are afraid of dismissals; they do not understand where and how they will work and what wages they will get. Unfortunately, according to her, the People’s Deputies failed to establish the social dialogue between the healthcare community and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Also the Deputies were angered by absence of the Acting Minister of Health Ulana Suprun, and her Deputy Pavlo Kovtoniuk. They went on a business trip instead of solving the problem.

"First of all, before you go to officials, you must understand your responsibility for the position you occupy and be able to communicate with people. Then there will not be such problems," said the People’s Deputy Oleg Musii, adding that he shares all the Union’s demands without exception.

Last year, during elaboration of the draft State Budget 2017, MPs warned the profile ministry of lack of funding of the healthcare sector. However, the Acting Minister signed the draft State Budget 2017 knowing in advance that in September there would be a shortage of funds to pay wages to the healthcare workers.

According to the results of the discussion, the Committee decided to support the demands of the Union, go to the rostrum of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and read its demands, as well as prepare a draft resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with relevant instructions of the Government to take measures to meet them.

The Committee also supported the proposal of the People’s Deputy Sergii Melnychuk regarding expression of no confidence in the Acting Minister Ulana Suprun.

The Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine is going to organise a round table on healthcare reform on 6 October, and a National Healthcare Reform Forum on 18 October.

Submitted by the Health Workers’ Union of Ukraine (HWUU)