Trade unions rally to support Ukraine

This Saturday 9th April, UK trade unions are mounting a protest march and rally in Whitehall, London, in solidarity with Ukraine. They will call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory and an immediate ceasefire.

The demonstration will also demand that the government admits all refugees seeking to come here without further delay. It will begin at 12 noon at Parliament Square and march to Downing Street for a rally. Among the speakers will be Labour’s shadow environment minister Alex Sobel MP and Nadia Whittome MP.

The demonstration is supported by trade unions representing millions of UK workers, and endorsed by five Ukrainian trade union federations, including those organising mineworkers from the occupied Donbas region.

Unions supporting the protest include Labour Party affiliates GMB, ASLEF, CWU, NUM and TSSA, plus the PCS, BFAWU and UCU.     .

Chris Kitchen, the National Union of Mineworkers’ General Secretary, who travelled to Kyiv as part of a labour movement solidarity delegation on the eve of the invasion, said: “The atrocities taking place in the Ukraine should be of concern to everyone. This is not just a fight over land, it’s a fight for sovereignty and democracy. We must do all we can to ensure Ukraine wins.”

Manuel Cortes, General Secretary of the Transport and Salaried Staffs Association, said: “We salute the bravery of railways workers who have transported civilians safely out of the country and ensured supplies have got back into Ukraine. We commend the bravery of many railway workers who have sabotaged Russia’s war efforts by severing rail links from Belarus and other countries, many of whom have also lost their lives.”

Mykhailo Volynets, Chair of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU), speaking from Kyiv, said:  “Ukraine needs assistance, primarily military, financial, and humanitarian aid. We ask you to call on your governments to provide this assistance to Ukraine and to impose tougher sanctions on the Russian Federation.”

The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine has appealed to trades unionists internationally to call on governments to send military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

“The bombing of hospitals and homes, executions, atrocities and rapes are part of Russian inhumane tactics”, Mykhailo Volynets, the Confederation’s Chair, wrote. “Russian forces continue to purposefully destroy the people of Ukraine and do not stop even at the time of the negotiation talks. The Russian troops are cynically ignoring all the rules of war and international humanitarian law, as well as the principles of humanity.”

Ukrainian unions officially supporting the rally include KVPU (Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine); FPSU (Federation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine); NPGU (Independent Miners Union of Ukraine); VPSU (Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine) and the Independent Union of Ukrainian Railways.

The protest has been organised by Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, which seeks to build links between the British Labour and trade union movement and their Ukrainian counterparts. For more information, contact: ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org

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