As I mentioned several days ago, the effects of the worsening world economic crisis may soon lead to workers' strikes and street protests in Ukraine.
The current 'Kommentarii' weekly claims trade unions that are under the control of Party of Regions will use their protests to effect the removal the Tymoshenko government.
Trade unions under control of BYuT will direct their protests against the oligarchic 'fat cats' who own much of Ukraine's industrial base. Many, but by no means all, are PoR donors and supporters.
BYuT's position was expressed by the leader of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine, BYuT parlimentary deputy Mykhaylo Volynets, who claimed there is no reason to "throw out people onto the street". He said that he ready to lead 10 million workers in protest.
The presidium of Central Committee of Trade Union of Metallurgists and Miners of Ukraine are to meet on November 12th. Even though it is employers that are breaking agreements forcing employees to take holiday leave early and terminating pay raises, their protests will have an anti-government character.
The Federation of Trade Unions and Trade Union Associations of Ukraine held a press conference recently and complained that trade unions were not consulted prior to a parliamentary bill on minimising the effects of the world financial crisis on the Ukrainian economy being passed. The bill, the Federation claims, rides roughshod over previously agreed workers' rights. Even though it was president Yushchenko who was the author of this bill, the Federation will direct its fire at Yulia Tymoshenko rather that at the president.
In recent days there have been two meetings at the highest level between the goverment and trades unions representatives, the first attended by the minister of labour, and the second by the PM herself, but tripartite talks involving the Federation of Employers of Ukraine have not taken place because its head, PoR VR Deputy and ex-Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, has, apparently, been away.
The 'Kommentarii' article concludes that PoR are prepared to use trade unions and 'take to the streets' in order to force Tymoshenko out of government with the tacit consent of the President. The prime minister in her turn, is seeking counter-measures and is preparing for 'street battles' too. Whoever's street actions turn out to be more radical will become the leader of the future presidential race even though any possible protests will be irrelevant in solving the problems caused by the world economic crisis.