Ukraine: unions’ humanitarian action

Since the ITUC launched its emergency fundraising appeal to help Ukraine’s workers and their families, there has been an overwhelming response.

The funds are being used by the ITUC’s member organisations in Ukraine to help people in desperate need, and trade unions in neighbouring countries are supporting the increasing number of refugees.

In Ukraine, support from the ITUC fund is allowing the Federatsiya Profesiynykh Spilok Ukrayiny (FPU) and the Konfederatsiya Vilʹnykh Profspilok Ukrayiny (KVPU) to keep buildings open and heated and to assist people escaping the terror and destruction of Putin’s war.

This shelter and basic humanitarian aid has already been given to hundreds of thousands of people.

To support this, the Blocul National Sindical (BNS), Romania, has been able to send life-saving supplies into Ukraine, such as water, canned food, bedding and medications. In the first month they sent around four tons of food and water.

The funds have also been used to provide food, water and shelter to the people who are making these dangerous journeys to deliver humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund (OeGB), Austria, has used the fund to purchase humanitarian items and send them across the border.

These supplies have included food (including baby food); cooking equipment; hygiene and basic medical supplies; medicines, including anti-depressants for children traumatised by the war; heaters; bedding; and fuel for humanitarian and evacuation convoys.

Refugees welcome

The Confederaţia Naţională a Sindicatelor din Moldova (CNSM) has responded to the hundreds of thousands of refugees crossing the border from Ukraine by providing accommodation in buildings that it owns.

The CNSM has used the fund to cover the expenses of providing free housing and procuring basic necessities for people in need.

Elena said: “I’m here with my two children. My husband stayed in Ukraine. We were very well received in good conditions with a place to sleep, hot food and everything we need. We are very grateful.”

In Poland, Solidarnosc, the Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Zwiazków Zawodowych (OPZZ) and the Forum Związków Zawodowych (FZZ) have provided food, water, clothes and emergency accommodations for refugees from Ukraine.

This included providing housing for a group of school students who fled over the border with their teachers to escape fighting in Ukraine but arrived without their parents.

UNI Global Union has setup a project in the region to provide materials giving advice to refugees about their rights and translation services for local unions, established a helpline and online service for the most complex questions, and trained hundreds of refugee activists from Ukraine in workers’ rights.