On 24 February 2022, Russian tanks moved into Ukraine, marking the start of Russia’s full-scale attack and occupation of its neighbour Ukraine. Ukraine has been under constant bombardment ever since. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including hundreds of children, and tens of thousands of soldiers have been killed. Exact numbers are hard to confirm, and most estimates are vastly underestimated. Millions have left the country and fled to neighbouring countries.
Since the start of the invasion, IndustriALL and industriAll Europe have urged policy makers from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the USA, the EU, and international organisations to step up their efforts to ensure a stable and peaceful outcome for Ukraine. We have insisted that the only way to achieve this is to focus the process on dialogue and political solutions. Both IndustriALL and industriAll Europe have called on the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately cease its invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
The use of force by the Russian Federation in Ukraine is a deliberate violation of Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which requires Member States to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.
A solidarity fund was set up for donations and many unions throughout the world have contributed to it. Our Ukrainian affiliates welcomed the international solidarity in their existential fight.
In May 2022, IndustriALL visited Ukraine, met with affiliates, saw the destroyed buildings, and heard personal accounts of the effects of the war on workers and unions. During this visit, IndustriALL called on multinational companies operating in Ukraine to support workers by continuing to pay salaries and providing other material assistance.
In meetings, Ukrainian trade unions have painted a grim picture of the situation in their country, which continues to deteriorate. Union leaders have described how workplaces have been destroyed, workers killed and Russian soldiers occupying workplaces. Many jobs have been lost and membership has plummeted. Trade unionists find it difficult to keep track of how many people they have lost. But union leaders and officials are fighting hard for the lives of their members and are working to rebuild the country.
In June 2022, the European Union granted Ukraine candidate status, paving the way for Ukrainian trade unions to become members of industriAll Europe. The path to EU membership and integration into the European trade union family will give our Ukranian affiliates a strong voice in their fight to uphold workers’ rights in Ukraine. IndustriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union stand by their side.
On this first anniversary of the Russian occupation, we remain resolute in our solidarity with the people of Ukraine.