On 1 November 2016, the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, TUESWU, one of ETUCE’s Ukrainian member organisations, staged the All-Ukrainian protest action in Kiev. The initiative to hold this action was taken by the Kiev city organisation of the education trade union. More than 15,000 education staff all over Ukraine participated in the action.
The protest participants picketed outside the headquarters of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to protest against high tariffs of utility services and to demand an increase in teachers’ salaries.
With salaries remaining the same, people were appalled by the increase of the tariffs. In its turn, the Ukrainian Government suggested the population to request for subsidies.
The education trade union noted that teachers should not have to stand in queues to obtain subsidies that are provided for people in need. Teachers are qualified employees and they should not be held hostage to extremely high utility tariffs. Thus, their salaries should allow them to meet the needs of their families, rather than to beg the Government for charity.
According to statements made by the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, teachers’ salaries are expected to increase by 20-30% in 2017, while the minimum wage is to be doubled.
The education trade union’s affiliates stated that, as a whole, the government’s intentions could be seen as a positive step. However, there could be no pay reform if the government does not allow to lift the stagnation of salaries and significantly increases salaries.
In the resolution adopted by the protest participants, demonstrators stated their main demands for the Government and the Parliament:
- to establish a moratorium on the increase in price and tariffs of utility services until appropriate increase in salaries is achieved;
- to perform calculations of tariffs for utility services that are economically reasonable and upgraded according to pensions, scholarships and salaries within 10 days;
- to unfreeze and raise salaries of all education staff based on the minimum pay scale and not lower than the minimum wage;
- to comply with the Law of Ukraine on Higher Education regarding academic scholarships that should not be lower than the subsistence minimum, likewise, the number of students entitled to receive it which means not less than two-thirds of students financed by the state;
- to double pension levels;
- to lift the restrictions on the payment of pensions to re-employed retirees; to abolish the mandatory retirement age; to abolish stage wise increase of seniority for retirement.
The representatives of demonstrators met with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, where they handed him the participants’ demands.
The next All-Ukrainian protest action that will bring together representatives from all sectors is scheduled on 17 November 2016.
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