Solidarity Newspaper

Solidarity with Ukrainian workers , 17 Jun, 2015

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The recent ASLEF Annual Assembly of Delegates (AAD) voted to affiliate to the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, a network which raises awareness and builds support for the efforts of independent unions in Ukraine to struggle for workers' rights against both Western and Russian imperialism, as well as domestic Ukrainian oligarchs and capitalists.

RMT AGM will also vote on a motion to affiliate to the campaign. Here, we reprint an address to ASLEF from the leader of the Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine (VPZU) to extend fraternal greetings to the Annual Assembly of Delegates of ASLEF. Our trade union was established in 1994, and belongs to the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, which like the British Trade Union Congress is an affiliate to the European TUC and International Trade Union Confederation.

Ukraine has been in deep and tragic crisis since the defeat of the authoritarian government of our former President Yanukovych last year. Ukraine has been squeezed between an aggressive power in our East and neo-liberal economic policies from the West.

As railway workers we have been in the epicentre of this tragic situation, during which our trade union has continued to struggle for peace, unity and social justice. It should be also mentioned that our oligarch politicians have been trying for a long time to privatize the most profitable sectors of railway, as a result today on the 12th of May the technical default was announced. To our mind, this is made purposely for selling the whole railway at a cheap rate.

In this situation we write to you as fellow railway workers to appeal to you for solidarity, we wish to establish direct links between VPZU and ASLEF, to be able to exchange experience and new ideas as trade unionists in our struggles. It is only through the international solidarity and co-operation of our labour movements that the full truth of the situation in our two countries can be fully known to us.
As such we wish to invite ASLEF to send a fact-finding mission to Ukraine to meet with fellow train drivers and members Ukrainian labour movement. Our sister union the Independent Trade Union of Miners has recently hosted two delegations from your National Union of Mineworkers who have been warmly received in Ukraine.

Your NUM participated in a national congress of mineworkers and a national protest against mine closures in Kiev. We would very much welcome the possibility of developing such solidarity between railway workers of Ukraine and the UK. I wish you every success in your conference and victories for ASLEF in your struggles ahead.

Yours in solidarity,
Volodymyr Kozelskyi
Head of Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine (VPZU)

For more on the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, click here.