Healthcare workers’ mass protest in Kiev: no to destruction of Ukrainian healthcare

20 September 2017
On 19 September, healthcare workers organised a mass protest in Kiev in which more than 1,500 people took part. Among their basic demands are the increase in healthcare subvention of almost 4 billion UAH, higher wages and payment of arrears, and reform of the healthcare system in compliance with the Constitution and legislation. The trade unions also want their voice to be heard.
"This peaceful action is just a warning, to see if we are heard. And then, based on the results, we will take a decision," said the President of the Health Workers’ Union of Ukraine (HWUU) Viktoriia Koval. "If we are not heard, we will take more action," she added.
 
Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleg Musii specified that the wage arrears due to healthcare workers were 100 million UAH (3.8 thousand USD). "If today the healthcare workers are not heard, tomorrow all these people will quit their jobs," said the Deputy of the Rada.
 
The healthcare workers demand an increase in government financing of the healthcare sector to 7% of GDP. According to Koval, today only about 3% of GDP is allocated to healthcare in Ukraine.
 
The organisers stated their demands to the Cabinet of Ministers, the Verkhovna Rada and the Presidential Administration. The action was organised by the HWUU.
 
The protesters held union banners with the inscriptions: ‘Do not save on health’, ‘Decent wages for healthcare workers’, ‘Do not block oxygen to Ukrainian healthcare, ‘No to destruction of Ukrainian healthcare’. 
 
Earlier, the Rada adopted in the first reading the draft law on healthcare reform in Ukraine. According to protesters, the draft law is aimed not at reforming the sector, but at healthcare workers and hospital cuts.
 
 
The forthcoming healthcare system reform caused a negative reaction in Ukraine society and among the Ukrainian healthcare workers. It became the topic of discussion at the sessions of the HWUU Presidium.
 
In a statement published on Facebook, the chairman of the Bolgrad District Trade Union Committee Petro Kyrpyk wrote, 
 
"We know that reforms are always difficult. Many countries have passed through reforms. But today the proposed reform in Ukraine will kill the sector and be disastrous for people. Do not let this happen!"
 
PSI and EPSU sent solidarity letters in support of the demands of their affiliate HWUU. The Federation of trade unions of Ukraine also supported the action.
 

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