Head of the UGCC called to help guarantee spiritual and social-economic rights of workers


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"A person is the crown of God's creation. His rights must be properly defended, especially his spiritual and social-economic rights. The worker and the employer can not exist without the other. There need to be harmonious Christian relations between them. Free democratic labor unions must have a decisive role. It is an important Christian task," said Patriarch Lubomyr during a meeting with Oleksandr Dzhulyk, president of the All-Ukrainian Union of Workers' Solidarity (VOST).

The head of the UGCC noted that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, as part of the Universal Church, has always held social questions in sight. This is seen in the encyclicals of Roman hierarchs of Leo XIII "New Things" (1891), and of John Paul II "About Labor" (1981) and "The Hundredth Year" (1991). Also His Beatitude Lubomyr said that the UGCC conducts annual social weeks in Ukraine, and abroad helps Ukrainian labor migrants. The head of the UGCC shared his knowledge about the international labor union movement and wished that VOST use world experience to establish free democratic labor unions.

During the meeting the cooperation of the UGCC and VOST in respecting the individual and the defense of rights for workers was discussed.

Oleksandr Dzhulyk described the 20-year history of VOST as the continuer of Christian and democratic traditions of the Ukrainian labor union movement. VOST is the only labor union association of free labor unions in Ukraine that states its activity is based on universal principles of Christian moral.

However, despite international acknowledgment, VOST encounters difficulties in the development of free labor unions because of the lack of labor union reform. There have been no reforms in this field since Ukraine's independence. In these difficult conditions VOST in all ways possible protects labor workers at different levels, in the informal sector of the economy and in enterprises and institutions where the VOST functions. Above all, in accordance to Christian principles, this is the struggle for dignified labor, timely and complete payment of salaries, the creation of proper conditions of labor, the prohibition of groundlessly laying off of workers, and the search for new forms and methods of defending workers of the informal sector of the economy and labor migrants.

To remember the meeting, His Beatitude Lubomyr passed to Mr. Dzhulyk the encyclical of the Pope of Rome John Paul II "About Labor," and the president of VOST handed to the head of the UGCC a souvenir dish with the VOST logo, a VOST booklet, and a brochure "Labor Union Reforms Shall Be!" At the end of the meeting, His Beatitude Lubomyr expressed confidence in the further cooperation of the UGCC and VOST and blessed Oleksandr Dzhulyk in the continuation of his activity defending workers.

Source: Information Department of the UGCC