Wildcat strikes in Ukraine on both sides of the front line


Labor protest actions? During the war and under the ban on street rallies by martial law? Is this possible? It turns out that yes!

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Submitted by Thunderbird on August 20, 2022

It is well known that one of the goals of any state war is the internal mobilization of society and its association in the interests of the ruling class. In other words, war is always both a pretext and a cover for more and more shameless attack on the interests and rights of the working classes.

Nevertheless, it seems that real class contradictions turn out to be stronger than any ideological indoctrination. This was felt by the couriers of the Bolt Food delivery service in Kyiv. They have to work in terrible conditions and for miserable wages. Since the beginning of the war, wages have fallen to a record low. According to them, "the average income of a courier is already lower than that of a homeless person in subway crossing". The tariff is 25 hryvnia ($0,68) per order plus 7 hryvnia per kilometer.

Since the beginning of the summer, the workers’ Telegram chat has been discussing a variety of forms and possibilities for protest. Some people suggested just stop working. Someone even arranged for the disabling of scooters. Alas, there were also nationalist messages.

On July 4, the group of couriers stopped working. And the next day, several dozen people came at noon to the HQ of the company in the City Zen Park office center to hold a rally concerning "an exorbitant cut in their income and bringing the situation to the actual state of unpaid labor". Employees brought bags for carrying and delivering orders. The protesters recorded an appeal to the management. They demanded, first of all, to raise the basic rate of payment and coefficients, to compensate for the cost of fuel, mobile communications, etc. - taking into account the growing inflation. We are talking about raising the rate to 40 hryvnia ($1,09) plus a surcharge of 12 hryvnia per kilometer.

SEE ALSO. Ukrainian banks take advantage of devastation and displacement to increase their income.

An administration speaker who came out to the couriers threatened them with a call to the police, who, she said, would give them all military subpoenas (аs always in warring countries, the masters threaten to send the troublemakers to the trenches). Then, in the chat of couriers, issues were being discussed about new protests, holding a strike and coordinating actions with colleagues from other delivery services. This month they complain that there are no orders at all - probably, the population has run out of money...

From other hand, in occupied Mariupol, a public utility strike broke out. Workers of the municipal water service did not come to work on August 10 due to salary arrears. Instead of money, authorities planned to give people rations again. The next morning, the plumbers announced the continuation of the protest, calling on media and all those who were not indifferent to come and support them. Russian-appointed city officials refused to come to the talks. The strike continued in the following days, despite pressure and threats from above: even the visit of the bosses of the enterprise Water of Donbass and the next promises did not help. According to the employees, they received their salary for May on July 12, and just today it became known that debt payment renewed.

"The equipment is standing still. A strike over non-payment of wages. We are standing at the gate, the equipment does not leave," the voice of some eyewitness is heard behind the scenes of published video.

Shortly before that, some information was reported about a social tension in the Greek suburban village of Sartana, where people demanded humanitarian aid. Which is on paper, but in fact, probably sold out. No more details.

So, we can observe how the invaders did not even bother to pay the wages of workers who worked under shelling for a long time. Their work during the occupation cannot be overestimated. Thanks to their labor, it was possible to provide the remaining residents with one of the main means of life support in the summer heat, they are also engaged in the repair of vital communications for Mariupol civilians. At the same time, the Russian propaganda broadcasts how the "valiant liberators" are rebuilding this city and are doing everything to improve the lives of citizens. This is real trash: no one in this "people's republic" is going to rebuild the city for the benefit of the ordinary hard workers. This is due to the fact that by investing in its restoration, Russian capitalists expect to make a profit. Based on this, it is clear that plants, factories and ports will be rebuilt first of all, instead of houses, communications, hospitals, schools.

SEE ALSO. Survival through solidarity. A few stories from the occupied South of Ukraine.

Along with this, as the adviser to the Mariupol mayor Petro Andryuschenko told on July 11, pro-Russian administration of this city received an order on the mobilization plan for the "DPR army". Open mobilization is scheduled to begin in mid-September after the "referendum" on joining Russia. First of all, students of the Mariupol universities will be mobilized (justification - provision of education without payment), unskilled workers registered at the Illich Steel and Iron Works, former Ukrainian cops voluntarily joined the "DPR police" and people released from the filtration camps in Kozatske and Bezymyane. In the first stage, it is planned to free from it employees of the Mariupol port, of the railway, workers involved in the repair of bases for military equipment (in particular, at the mentioned Illich plant) and some categories of utility workers (water supply, electricity). In general, from his words, Donetsk authorities express dissatisfaction with the reluctance of Mariupol residents to defend the "young republic" and the low level of initiative from the local administration. "Therefore, another wave of hidden mobilization will be launched in the near future".

A little more than a month ago, railroad trade unions also announced the readiness of the workers in Ukrainian Railways JSC to start an Italian strike because of deplorable working conditions against the backdrop of sharply increased workloads in wartime. However there has been no news about it since then.

And you may be interested to read our little recent investigation about how those who do not want to be mobilized into the Ukrainian army are fleeing through closed borders under the pretense of study in European universities and why they can be deported from the EU at any time.

Open the borders for all! Free movement is a right, not a privilege!