In December 2015, in the framework of the Solidarity Center Project in Ukraine, Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU), affiliated to the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) and StreetNet Affiliate, hosted one-day workshop “ILO Recommendation 204 as a tool to improve the lives and working conditions of informal workers”. The activity was held in Kyiv, Ukraine and facilitated by Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organizer for Europe and Asia.
The main goals of the workshop were:
- To help FTUEU leaders and members to understand the international context with regard to workers in the informal economy, as developed in the ILO (International Labour Organization);
- Familiarize them with the contents of the new ILO Recommendation 204 on Transitions from the Informal to the Formal Economy;
- Begin developing strategies for using ILO Recommendation 204 as a tool to improve the lives and working conditions of FTUEU members.
Around twenty five leaders and activists of Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU) attended the activity in Kyiv from six Ukrainian regions.
All participants introduced themselves and briefly shared their main challenges and successes, drawing particular attention to their organization activity and union membership data. Almost all of them faced big problems and suffered from raider attacks. However they didn’t give up and continue to fight for their rights in Ukrainian courts.
The workshop was welcomed by Natalia Levytska, KVPU Deputy Chairman, who emphasized on the importance of newly adopted ILO Recommendation 204, and underlined on support from KVPU towards implementation of this Recommendation. Olena Mykhalchenko, Lawyer of Labour Initiative (Institution created by Solidarity Center in Ukraine), represented Solidarity Center pointing on its main mission and activities in Ukraine.
After the introductory part Oksana Abboud made a presentation on StreetNet structure and current priorities and then introduced a newly adopted ILO Recommendation # 204 “On Transition from Informal to Formal Economy”.
After the presentation, the participants were analyzing two important documents (which were distributed at the beginning of the workshop as hand-outs): WIEGO NETWORK Platform “On TRANSITIONING FROM THE INFORMAL TO THE FORMAL ECONOMY in the interests of workers in the informal economy” and Summary on the ILO Recommendation 204 for MBOs compiled by Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator.
The participants were drawing particular attention to the chapter of “street vendors’ demands” and compared the texts of the ILO Rec. 204 and WIEGO Platform: “what did we get and what is missing in the Recommendation 204 which is important for informal workers”.
Afternoon the participants were tasked to interact in groups to work out a list of issues/demands using ILO Recommendation 204 as a base and to use these demands while approaching their municipalities.
As a result, the working groups presented the following issues:
- On traders’ relocation from their working places, in addition to the ILO Rec.204 a Decree # 868 of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine can be also used;
- On inspection of working conditions;
- On misuse of market’s land;
- Demand to follow the rules on the market trading;
- On signing rent agreement for longer period of time.
Eduard Kurgansky, member of the Assembly of public organizations of small and medium-sized businesses of Ukraine attended the workshop as a guest and made a short presentation on Taxation system in Ukraine and new drafts of Tax Code proposed by the Government of Ukraine. A main concern for small and medium entrepreneurs in these two Bills of Tax Code is removing a simplified taxation system in Ukraine. This is a very important issue for small-sized traders as in case the simplified system is removed, their lives will become worse than it is now. They also believe that more traders will become informal workers as high taxation will bring them to poverty.
All participants joined the protest action, which took place next day and which was arranged by Assembly of public organizations of small and medium-sized businesses of Ukraine.
Next and last session was devoted to discussion of FTUEU internal issues led by FTUEU Chairwoman Valentyna Korobka.
The workshop was successful and fruitful. All participants expressed their hope regarding the Recommendation on transition from informal to formal economy and gratitude to the event organizers for the opportunity to meet each other and to build joint plans for future.