By Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organiser
On November 30, 2014 in the city of Kharkiv (Eastern Ukraine) Valentina Korobka, the Chairwoman of the Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (VPPU), was attacked late at night by an unknown man, who struck her several times in the face.
It happened on the fourth day of Valentina`s business trip during where she chaired a delegation of representatives of the Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs from the market "Barabashovo" invited Valentina to Kharkov as they already spent several days picketing. After her arrival to the huge market "Barabashovo" a new trade union center was created immediately.
A few days ago market vendors of the "Barabashovo" market went on strike to protest against the arbitrary decisions of the local administration. One of their demands was – to cancel the illegal rent increases by 35%.
In addition, they demanded: to agree on a common working hours schedule from 6.00 am to 18.00 pm; to abolish fees for "working at night" and for placement of dummies, which are charged without any receipts and bases; as well as for electricity, which is payable without proof of payment and for the "committee service" – intermediaries between market vendors and the administration which demands money with threats.
Activists of the newly established trade union headed by Valentina Korobka immediately went to negotiate with the authority and administration of the market. After successful union negotiations with the administration and owners on the terms of the lease trading places, someone from the stakeholders, who is obviously not ready to talk openly about his interests, was dissatisfied with the activities of the trade union delegation at the market.
Thus in the evening of November 30, close to the hotel, where representatives of the VFTUEU were staying for night, an unknown young man struck Valentina three times in the face, stating that she had to go to Kiev.
The Union leader, Valentina, addressed the law enforcement agencies of the Kiev District Department of Research Affairs in Kharkiv regarding the assault. "There is little hope that the Kharkiv police will find and punish the perpetrators, especially if we talk about the person who was responsible for ordering this attack." she said.
StreetNet International expresses its concern and regret over the attack on the FTUEU leader Valentina Korobka. " Despite the endless threats and sacrifices she has made in the name of justice, including her safety and her health, she continues to fight for justice and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs in Ukraine. We wish her a speedy recovery," said Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organiser