7 April 2022
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On Saturday 9 April 2022, British trade unions will stage a protest march and rally in Whitehall, in solidarity with Ukraine. They will call for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory and for an immediate ceasefire.
The demonstration will also demand that the government admits all refugees seeking to come here without further delay. It will begin at 12 noon at Parliament Square and proceed to Downing Street for a rally. Among the speakers will be Labour’s shadow environment minister Alex Sobel MP and Nadia Whittome MP.
The demonstration is supported by trade unions representing millions of British workers, and endorsed by five Ukrainian trade union federations, including those organising mineworkers from the occupied Donbas region.
Unions supporting the protest include Labour Party affiliates GMB, ASLEF, CWU, NUM and TSSA, plus the PCS, BFAWU and UCU.
Chris Kitchen, the National Union of Mineworkers’ general secretary, who travelled to Kyiv as part of a labour movement solidarity delegation on the eve of the invasion, said:
“The atrocities taking place in the Ukraine should be of concern to everyone, this is not just a fight over land, it’s a fight for sovereignty and democracy and one that we must do all we can to ensure Ukraine wins.”
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport and Salaried Staffs Association, which organises railway workers, said:
“We salute the bravery of railways workers who have transported civilians safely out of the country and ensured supplies have got back into Ukraine. We commend the bravery of many railway workers who have sabotaged Russia’s war efforts by severing rail links from Belarus and other countries, many of whom have also lost their lives”.
Mykhailo Volynets, chairperson of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU), speaking from Kyiv, said:
“Ukraine needs assistance, primarily military, financial, and humanitarian aid. We ask you to call on your governments to provide this assistance to Ukraine and to impose tougher sanctions on the Russian Federation”.
The demo has been organised by Ukraine Solidarity Campaign, which is dedicated to building links between the British labour and trade union movement and their Ukrainian counterparts, and to supporting the Ukrainian community in Britain. USC has been present on all the major demonstrations in support of Ukraine, and organised a delegation of United Kingdom lawmakers, trade union leaders and civil society activists to visit Kyiv in the four days leading up to the outbreak of war.
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Ukrainian unions officially supporting the rally include KVPU (Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine); FPSU (Federation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine); NPGU (Independent Miners Union of Ukraine); VPSU (Free Trade Union of Railway Workers of Ukraine) and the Independent Union of Ukrainian Railways. Many of the unions have members actively involved in resistance to occupation, and fighting in the territorial defence brigades.
8th April 2022