Slave Code: New Draft Ukrainian Labour Code Assumes a 10-Hour Working Day & Other Violations of Rights

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


A draft of the Labour code that is being prepared for acceptance by the Verkhovna Rada assumes a 10-hour working day, the possibility of surveilling employees, an increase in the trial period, and other violations of the rights of Ukrainians.

This was written by the “Uspishna kraina” party leader and former Minister of Incomes and Fees Aleksandr Klimenko in his article entitled “Slave code”.

According to the politician, “the authorities revived the labour code from the ashes” to show a flurry of activity in front of Europe, and already from the autumn of this year the rights of Ukrainian hired workers will be significantly curtailed.

In particular:

  • The working day can be 10 hours in the “normal” duration of a 40 hour working week;
  • the employer will have the right to “record” employees via audio-video-photo;
  • single mothers will be dismissed in accordance with general practice;
  • forthcoming dismissal will receive prior warning not two months before, but one month;
  • the trial period will increase.

The leader of “Uspishna kraina” is sure that at the same time neither statements, manifestos, nor strikes of workers organized by labor unions will happen.

“The Ukrainian labor unions, unlike the same European ones, are now not able to fully perform their functions – there are no funds for their support,” noted the politician. In addition, the new norms are favorable to oligarchs and the authorities because in this way it will be easier to attract in the country foreign companies, which “will bite on a cheap labour force by analogy with Bangladesh”.

Klimenko stresses that a new Labour code that will come into force instead of the hopelessly obsolete rules of 1971 should be written on the basis of the real situation in the country. Starting not with the adopted of new laws, but with studying their suitability.

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“Today all legislative initiatives must concern first of all the economic aspect. It is necessary to increase the income of the population, to work on the issue of the welfare of completely impoverished people. And when workers will cease to collapse from hungry faints, to deal with other issues,” the politician is sure. Otherwise, at the present standard of living of Ukrainians the new Labour code has no real chance of becoming a real working document.

As a reminder, earlier the Minister of Social Policy Andrey Reva stated that the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine can consider and approve a new version of the Labour code already by the end of the current session — before July, 2017. The Verkhovna Rada approved in the first reading the draft of the Labour code on November 5th, 2015. Now the document is already prepared for voting in the second reading.

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