Unbreakable solidarity: united despite all difficulties

The cold season is approaching, and we remember how difficult last winter was. Due to shelling from the aggressor country, objects of critical infrastructure were damaged, on which the light and warmth in our homes depend. Unfortunately, we cannot expect this winter to be easier. The cold season is approaching, and we remember how difficult last winter was.

Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine, with the assistance of the UNION SOLIDARITY FUND, which was established by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and headed by the Head of the MTWTU Oleg Grygoriuk, is making every effort to support its members and help them prepare for the winter.

At the Maritime Union Center, the MTWTU gathered its activists - port workers, maritime workers, cadets, and employees of maritime educational institutions. Following their requests, the MTWTU handed over heaters, flashlights, portable chargers, solar panels, first aid kits, reflective vests, and other necessary charitable assistance to the primary trade union organizations.

"Thanks to the fact that our trade union has been a member of the ITF and ETF for many years, we have a strong voice in the UNION SOLIDARITY FUND, so that priority in assistance is given to the maritime sector," Oleg Grygoriuk emphasized. "We have accumulated all your requests and wishes and addressed them to the Fund to cover, if possible, the needs of our primary trade union organizations in preparing for the winter, for possible power and heat outages."

Recall that in January, a meeting of the Supervisory Board of the UNION SOLIDARITY FUND took place in Ukraine: about what has already been implemented within the framework of assistance from the Fund and proposals for projects for the 2023 year. The event was attended by international partners from the ITF, ETF, Great Britain, France, Sweden, Poland, and Turkey. They all confirmed that the support for the MTWTU members will continue.

The implemented and future projects to support Ukrainian transport unions from the UNION SOLIDARITY FUND were also discussed at the meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Transport Workers' Federation, which took place in Mumbai in October. The interests of the MTWTU at the event were represented by the First Vive Chairman of the MTWTU Michael Kirieiev, who is a member of the governing body of the ITF. International partners once again confirmed their readiness to continue helping the Ukrainian people on their difficult path through challenges and hardships. So with their unwavering support and solidarity, we will stand firm and will surely win.

In addition to providing charitable assistance, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the problems facing the members of the MTWTU today. Discussion of problems and possible solutions is an important part of the work of the Trade Union. It allows us not only to better understand the challenges faced by the members of the MTWTU but also to find new, more effective ways to solve them. It is such moments that emphasize the importance of remaining a united team and continuing to do our work, despite the difficulties.

The port industry today is experiencing significant difficulties.

“We support the employees of the Mykolaiv Sea Commerical Port and the Mykolaiv branch of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority thanks to the MTWTU: we provide food packages, and hygiene kits, and organize various events for children," says Victoria Kernos, Head of the MTWTU's Local Trade Union Organization of Employees of Mykolaiv Seaport Administration.

"Today our main problem is that the grain corridor is not working, and therefore there is no opportunity to fully fulfill our obligations to people under the collective agreement. However, our management, together with the Trade Union, is doing everything possible to somehow bypass the critical moments and establish work at the enterprise" continued Maria Zotova-Yablonska, Head of the Local Trade Union of LLC "TIS-ZERNO".

She also emphasized the constant support from the MTWTU: "We constantly feel that the Trade Union is close by. This is both psychological support when they organized meetings with a psychologist, and providing our people with flashlights, portable chargers, and so on. They even offered to organize a trip abroad if people felt that it was necessary for the safety of their families."

Things are much better on the Danube. After the start of the large-scale russian aggression in Ukraine, most of the transport flows were reoriented to the seaports of the Danube region. But, unfortunately, the work of these ports doesn't give the occupiers peace of mind: for the last six months, the port infrastructure on the Danube has been under constant attack and has suffered significant damage.

"Of course, against the backdrop of other ports, the Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company is living its best times. This is if you do not take into account the shelling from russia. Today we are performing strategically important tasks of cargo transportation. People have jobs, decent wages, and material assistance and compensation for sanatorium-resort treatment are provided if necessary. We even feel a shortage of seafarers. We are counting on the help of the MTWTU in organizing a presentation of our enterprise in Odesa among maritime educational institutions to attract people for the future." says Anatoly Nikolaev, head of the trade union of PJSC "Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company".

As for other primary trade union organizations, the problems voiced also included such as the outflow of highly qualified and specialized specialists abroad, a decrease in the wage fund, and the lack of government orders in secondary educational institutions.

Perhaps the most trials among educational institutions were experienced by the Kherson State Maritime Academy.

"We were forced to leave our city, which was under occupation, and now under constant shelling from russia. We are currently in Odessa, and we are grateful for any help. The MTWTU has been supporting us in everything since the first days of the war, as they have done before: morally, physically, and financially," said Vadym Polishchuk, Head of the trade union of the Kherson State Maritime Academy.

"It is also very hot in our region, on the Danube, but we continue to work," says Iryna Leontyeva, head of the trade union of the Danube Vocational Education Center. "Now we're studying at university offline because it's much more productive for children. When an air alert is announced, we go down to the equipped shelter. The flashlights and portable chargers received from the MTWTU are very helpful in these situations" says Iryna Leontyeva, Head of the trade union of the Danube Vocational Education Center.

All the questions and problems of the primary trade union organizations voiced at the meeting were recorded and will be processed on an individual basis.

"Thank you all for your work," said Oleg Grygoriuk. "Because you communicate with people on behalf of our Trade Union every day, and help them when they need it. And we, the Central Council of the MTWTU, using all our strength and resources, will continue to do everything possible to support you in difficult times for the country and the industry."

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