Unions around the world are contributing to a fund set up to support their Ukrainian brothers, sisters and comrades as the appalling war continues.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) have jointly set up a solidarity fund to support Ukrainian affiliates in their phenomenal work.
“Union activists in Ukraine need no additional motivation to help their country,” said Paddy Crumlin, ITF President, “but they do need money. We’re asking unions everywhere to show solidarity with Ukraine by contributing to this fund.”
The ITF has started the ball rolling with a GBP100,000 contribution while ETF has added €50,000. Unions and individuals are encouraged to give.
Over the weekend, the first shipment of aid paid for by the ITF-ETF fund will make its way into the war-torn country. ITF staff have helped coordinate delivery via the Polish border town of Przemysl.
Generators, tourniquets, propane stoves, solar power-banks, and other items will be delivered to Ukrainian rail and maritime workers. These supplies, requested by unions, will help keep trains running and workers safe, allowing more refugees to escape and more aid to enter the country.
Ukraine’s unions are working flat out
The Trade Union of Railwaymen and Transport Constructors of Ukraine (TURTCU) has converted its summer school into a refugee site for people fleeing danger and arranged with help from unions in Sweden and Poland for mattresses and other humanitarian aid to be delivered.
The Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) has come together with shipping companies to organise buses out of Ukraine for seafarers and their families.
The Ukrainian Free Trade Union of Locomotive Engineers (VPMU) is providing access to emergency power, heating and cooking facilities for rail workers and their families in areas where these facilities have stopped working.
These examples are just a tiny representation of how unions are helping in Ukraine.
“Transport workers have struggled on to bring humanitarian aid in and help people get out as the terrible war carries on,” said Frank Moreels, ETF President. “We have worked with our affiliates to deliver aid, with ETF supporting five shipments including food, first aid kits, medical supplies and clothing delivered directly to transport workers.”
“Our Ukrainian affiliates are working for the good of the country as they support these workers. We must keep helping them. I commend this fund to everyone,” said Moreels.
Donations and pledges from affiliate unions as of 19 May amount to USD 168,950.