War in Ukraine: call for solidarity and anticipation of impact on workers

War in Ukraine: call for solidarity and anticipation of impact on workers

Joint Recommendations of the European Trade Union Federations to EWC/SE Coordinators and worker representatives in SNBs, EWCs and SEs

The international trade union movement condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, expresses solidarity with the people, workers and trade unions in Ukraine, and demands that all Russian forces leave Ukraine immediately. We urge for open dialogue to resume in order to find a peaceful solution to this crisis. Our thoughts are with the workers in Ukraine who face incredible hardships as a result of the war. Workers in Russia, in neighbouring countries and all across Europe, must also not bear the brunt of the war.

The ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) launched an online petition in support of peace, dialogue and democracy.

Solidarity funds have been set up by the Global Trade Union Federations and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to support Ukrainian trade unions to provide workers and their families in Ukraine with food and water provisions, medical supplies and hygiene items. Please get in touch with your European Trade Union Federation should you, your Special Negotiating Body, your European Works Council, or your SE-Works Council (in European companies with the statute of Societas Europaea) wish to contribute.

Many European Works Councils have adopted statements or issued press releases to express their solidarity with all workers falling victim to the war. Some have called on their company to take concrete actions to support people in Ukraine and displaced workers. Others have appealed to workers from their company to open their homes to refugees, or are collecting funds and supplies (sleeping bags, tents…) from workers to be sent to Ukraine.

Your multinational company may have ties (production sites, suppliers, retailers, export/import…) in Russia or Ukraine. The consequences of the war have already been felt on energy prices and the cost of raw materials, which had already greatly increased over the last few months. Your company’s activities could thus be disrupted, with likely impacts on its workers and those of its suppliers. We therefore recommend members in Special Negotiating Bodies, European Works Councils or Works Councils of European Companies-SE (Societas Europaea) to:

  • Request the company to provide emergency measures for its workers directly impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, including maintaining wages, benefits, and social security contributions when work is suspended due to the war, or by turning plants/offices into shelters. The situation of workers from Ukraine posted in European countries, as well as workers taking time off to support their families in Ukraine, should also be addressed.
  • Call for management to contribute to humanitarian efforts by providing financial and material support to people in Ukraine, as well as displaced workers and their families. Some multinational companies have already announced significant donations to NGOs and local organisations in Ukraine.
  • Urgently request management information about the economic and social impact of the war on working conditions, jobs and sites in Ukraine, Russia and European countries. The SNB, EWC or SE-WC might call for an extraordinary meeting with management, depending on the extent of the likely impact.

Regular reporting by management to the select committee might also be set up. Consultation shall apply where needed.

Your national and European trade union federations are available anytime to support you. Please also report to them about any initiative or emergency measures you may take, or any critical situation your company may face in relation to the war in Ukraine. You can get in touch with the contact person at UNI Europa here.


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