|Presidents Zelensky and Putin, both enemies of the working class. |
Ukraine's Parliament Verkhovna Rada has passed two bills that obliterate workers' rights to collective bargaining and other fundamental labor protections, and allow employers to put up to 10% of their workforce on “zero hour” contracts leaving them without any control over their working lives.
Similarly, Moscow takes advantage of the imperialist war in order to attack the working people rights. More specifically the Russian government is poised to enact legislation that can force companies to supply the country's military and demand employees work overtime, by unilaterally changing the contracts in a number of sectors, in an effort to help rebuild an arsenal that's been depleted after nearly five months of war in Ukraine.
In a statement, the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME), Greece's trade union powerhouse, denounces the attack of the Ukrainian and Russian governments against the workers' rights:
"In wartime the Zelensky government is pushing forward barbaric anti-workers’ laws in favor of the industrialists. In particular, the Zelensky Government, with two bills passed in the Ukrainian Parliament (in which almost all opposition parties have been banned), abolishes the right of trade unions to collective bargaining and a series of measures to protect workers, and among other things gives employers the right to suspend 10% of workers (with zero hours contract). Also with new bills promoted the government will effectively confiscate the assets of the unions, despite them being pro-government. Developments that mean that even unions and organizations that were operating with the blessing of the US and NATO, such as unions that were previously not banned, are effectively being abolished. The Zelensky government had even attempted to pass these bills before the war, but failed to do so because of the fierce opposition.
These developments also demonstrate the hypocrisy of organisations such as the ETUC and ITUC, which for so long have been glorifying the anti-workers Zelensky Government. On the other hand, they are concerned about Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and the engagement of the people and workers of Ukraine to this imperialist camp, which is crushing the rights of the workers of Europe.
Similarly, in Russia, the Putin Government, taking advantage of the conditions of imperialist intervention within Russia, is giving the right to unilaterally change the contracts of workers in a number of sectors. While at the same time promoting regulation that would allow the authorities to “establish the legal conditions of labour relations in individual organisations”, including the definition of “the conditions for engaging in work beyond the specified working hours, at night, on weekends and non-working holidays and the provision of annual paid leave.”
The developments in the countries of the imperialist conflict come as a reminder that the wars of the imperialists, in addition to the enormous blood toll of the peoples, require the crushing of workers’ rights. Workers who, when they return home, regardless of the outcome of the war, will find themselves in a state of unemployment, labour hostage and insecurity, poverty and misery.
As Brecht said: "When the last war came to an end / There were conquerors and conquered / Among the conquered the common people Starved / Among the conquerors The common people starved too"."