USPA branch in Kherson dismissed more than 200 workers after the deoccupation of the city
Last year, shortly after the de-occupation of Kherson, USPA dismissed more than 200 employees of the Kherson branch with numerous violations of legal requirements.
USM compiled a timeline of events, from illegal dismissals to the gradual reinstatement of USPA employees in their positions right now.
How, when and why did USPA fire employees?
With the declaration of martial law, the Kherson branch of State Enterprise “USPA” introduced a layoff, under the conditions of which employees were kept the payments guaranteed by law.
March 2022. Marine Transport Workers Trade Union sent an appeal to the employers of maritime transport enterprises (including to the SE “USPA” and its branches, to the Ministry of Infrastructure) – with a call to preserve the staff and not to abuse wartime labor legislation.
End of April 2022. By its order, the Ministry of Infrastructure closed the seaports in the temporarily occupied territories (including the port of Kherson) until the restoration of control over them. After that, the Kherson port administration initiated the cancellation of the downtime.
Marine Transport Workers Trade Union sent a letter to MIU about the need to maintain labor relations with employees and at least minimum payments for them. A corresponding letter was also sent to the name of the then acting head of SE “USPA”, but unsuccessfully.
May 2022. More than 150 employees of the Kherson branch of USPA personally signed a collective appeal, which they sent to the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Infrastructure.
Despite the employees’ statement about the lack of funds for the purchase of food, medicine and basic necessities, he stopped any payments to his employees in Kherson.
End of June 2022. A new acting director was appointed at USPA State Enterprise. heads Marine Transport Workers Trade Union sent him a letter, but received a reply that the only option for the enterprise is to suspend the employment contracts with the employees. In such conditions, only the workplace is kept for employees, no payments from the employer are provided. At the same time, after the victory of Ukraine, workers will be able to receive compensation for lost earnings at the expense of reparations collected from the aggressor country.
End of December 2022. The employer dismissed all employees of the Kherson branch of USPA”. Together with work, people lost the right to further payments for reparations. The ground specified in the release documents is a newly adopted provision of the Labor Code of Ukraine: Clause 6, Part 1, Art. 41 “the impossibility of providing the employee with the work specified in the employment contract due to the destruction (absence) of production, organizational and technical conditions, means of production or the employer’s property as a result of hostilities.”
However, the workers were verbally assured that as soon as the shelling of the city ends and the port resumes its activities, they will be hired again.
The issue of the mass release of employees of the Kherson branch of SE “USPA” was the subject of consideration at an extended meeting of the Presidium of the Central Council of Marine Transport Workers Trade Union. The trade union put forward a demand to the employer to stop and cancel the illegal dismissal of employees.
January 2023. The issue of violation of labor legislation by SE “USPA” was raised at a joint meeting of the leadership of the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine and State Labor at the end of January this year. After that, the head of the State Labor Service issued instructions to subordinate departments.
What is happening now?
Currently, the organization is trying to reinstate its members at work. Marine Transport Workers Trade Union sent a complaint about the actions of the management of SE “USPA” to the head of the State Labor Service, as well as the heads of its Central and Southern interregional departments.
On October 26, 2023, the Malinovsky Court in Odesa issued one of the decisions regarding the illegal dismissal of USPA employees.
The employee appealed to the court on January 28. On December 29 of last year, the Kherson branch of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences fired him from the position of chief accountant — without proper grounds, with violations of the dismissal procedure.
In its justification, the USPA referred to the legality of the plaintiff’s dismissal from work, compliance with the dismissal procedure, denial of the fact of the plaintiff’s membership in a trade union, the plaintiff’s dishonest behavior, etc.
But the court decided to immediately reinstate the employee and pay him wages in the amount of UAH 33,298.79 for the period of forced absenteeism for one calendar month.
Therefore, the employees of the Kherson branch of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences, who expressed a desire to defend the constitutional right to work, have already been reinstated by the decisions of the court of first instance. But these court processes are important not only for individual transporters, but also for all employed Ukrainians, because they are just now forming law enforcement and judicial practice in similar cases.