The Ukrainian members of the cwi are passing on this request for solidarity for a struggle in which we have been involved.
On 30 September, cwi members held a picket of the Ministry of Justice in Kiev in solidarity with the workers of the ‘Galol’ plant in West Ukraine.
For over a year now, workers at this factory, which until recently was the only plant in the Ukraine producing oil refinery equipment, have been organizing protests. The factory, as a result of its privatisation, has been at a stand-still since 2001. The so called "sanitation" procedure ordered by the courts to clear off debts means the plant is not operating.
Under this procedure an "investor" promised to invest 11 million grivna (US $2 million) to clear all wage and tax arrears, to restore production and to guarantee all former workers a job. As a result, the workers are not recognised as unemployed and, therefore, are not entitled to benefits. But, as became quickly clear, the "investor" did not have this money. Following a number of intrigues, the factory was sold for just 2 million grivna to A Bashlovka (Vice President of the Ukrainian Association for Social and Economic Support to Entrepreneurs). No-one of course showed any concern for the fate of the 300 workers and this "sanitation" has dragged out for 3 years.
The factory is being asset stripped and the building is collapsing. The judge responsible for the case is refusing to retract his decision and the trade union boss at the dead factory is already working hand in hand with the new boss.
Now the workers are forming a trade union of their own. Notwithstanding numerous letters and appeals, the authorities have just ignored the protestors. So, each week the workers organise a blockade of the railway to draw attention to their case.
We ask readers of socialistworld.net and trade unionists to help put pressure on the Ukrainian authorities, the judge responsible for the case, P Bilous, and the owner of ‘Galol’, A Bashlovka. You can help by picketing the Ukrainian Embassy or by sending letters or faxes to the following addresses:
Ukraine, Kiev 01001
Ul. Khreshatik 16
Vice President of Ukrainian Association for Social and Economic assistance for Entrepreneurs
Ukraine, Kiev 01001
Ul Artema 89
Supreme Court of Justice of the Ukraine