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Labour laws exist: protest for the rights of hired demonstrators!

 On Thursday the 13th of October at 11.00am, in Kyiv, at 27, Khreshchatyk St., an open-ended protest will take place dedicated to the working conditions of hired demonstrators. Paying crowds of people to take part in protests and demonstrations has long been common practice in Ukraine.

For many people, taking part in this kind of protest is a last resort means of earning something to live on. New professions are gradually emerging in Ukraine – protest-marcher, flag-waver, banner-carrier. But do these workers recognize their potential for emancipation, and the protection of their workers’ rights? Do the hired protestors understand that they are not citizens expressing a political viewpoint, but professionals? 

Society’s opinion of this profession borders on outright contempt. And the conditions in which these workers end up having to live and work are frequently awful. They do not have standard working days, their workplace and sanitary conditions do not meet even the lowest standards existing in Ukraine, supervisors keep a close watch on them, they live in buses and eat ready meals – and these are just a few of the infringements of work health and safety rules which are already part of everyday life for hired demonstrators in Ukraine. Sometimes they are even deprived of the right of communication with other people – flag-wavers have to stand inside sealed-off enclosures, waving their flags without stopping, each one staying strictly within a 2m x 2m square. An example of this kind of rights deprivation is the ongoing protest action being carried out by the “Ukrainskiy Obshevoinskiy Soyuz” [Ukrainian National Military Union] in support of the arrest of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. The difficult working conditions of the ongoing protest action organized by the “Batkivshina” party in support of Ms. Tymoshenko also add to the picture of exploitation. 

According to Ukrainian Labour Law, workers have the right to allowances and compensation for difficult and harmful working conditions (article 7). If the profession of “hired demonstrator” was officially recognized, then in accordance with state health and safety standards (DSH 3.3.6 037-99) concerning noise levels it would be considered harmful to health. Trauma is an everyday occurrence under such working conditions, and the time has come to make a public stand against the systematic harm to hearing, health and other mental disturbances which these working conditions are inflicting! 

Workers demonstrating for and against the arrest of the former Prime Minister, the time has come to unite and protect your rights to fair working conditions! It’s time to put a stop to discrimination against hired demonstrators and outrageous conditions in their workplace! 

Our demands: 

Fair working pay - 15 grivna/hour (1.5 euros/hour) is a mockery! 

Guarantees and compensation - Medical insurance, paid leave, and unemployment allowance. 

Legitimacy - Creation of a standard labour agreement for all professional protestors, specified in written form and with a proper official salary. 

Comfort - Provision of living quarters for people being bussed in from other regions, free laundry and bathing facilities, 3 meals a day plus vegetarian menu for those who require it!

 

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