Victor Yushchenko met with the Head of the Ukrainian Federation of Trade Unions (UFTU), Co-Chairman of the Presidential Tripartite Social and Economic Council Oleksandr Yurkin, president's press o.

They spoke about social issues, especially how to protect employees when prices are growing so rapidly and increase social spending in 2007.

Yurkin told the President the UFTU had recently passed a resolution to condemn the violation of constitutional rights and guarantees in the budget. Its members disagree with the government on the proposed minimum wage and the limitation of the right of those working in rural areas not to pay for utilities, as well as the revocation of article 44 of the Trade Union Law on the obligation of budget companies to spend 0.3% of their salary fund on healthcare and other social issues.

“We explicitly stated in the resolution that we agree with and support the President’s position on the minimum monthly wage, the living wage and other social issues,” he said.

He also informed Yushchenko about two meetings of the UFTU Board, on December 14 and December 18. He said they had discussed ways to develop the social dialogue. “Protecting the rights and interests of 10.5 mln members of the trade unions,” the board resolutely demands that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine revise the budget for 2007 without delay by considering the President’s proposals, aimed at increasing the minimum wage and pensions, and by removing clauses that violate or limit the rights of Ukraine’s citizens and trade unions.

Yurkin said the inefficiency of the social dialogue between the government and the trade unions had resulted in this year’s social tensions, making the trade unions hold mass protests to dispute the unfair governmental decisions.  

The President said these issues were of great importance and suggested convening the Tripartite Economic and Social Council to help the sides compromise. 


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