03 жовтня 2011

Video-documentation of labor protests


Video materials collected in the framework of this project are a vivid proof of the existence of labor movement in Ukraine. We hope that they will serve a mobilizing role for workers and activists, strengthen existing links (and develop new ones) between groups and initiatives interested in the labor movement. Furthermore, the videos contribute to creating the history of the labor movement in Ukraine from the perspective of the workers and in their interest, becoming its illustration and subject to analysis.


Video-documentation of labor protests

Coordinated by Vitaliy Atanasov and Anastasiya Ryabchuk with support of Rosa Luxemburg foundation.

Class struggle and class exploitation remain invisible topics in Ukraine, largely ignored by journalists, major political parties and official trade unions (according the "Protest and coercion in Ukraine" monitoring four out of five protest events of workers were led by workers themselves without the support of any other agents). There is often lack of long-term strategic vision and proactive demands (most protests are a reaction to wage arrears or lay-offs) and solidarity between workers at different enterprises or in different branches of industry is extremely rare.

Video materials will become a vivid proof of the existence of labor movement in Ukraine. They will serve a mobilizing role for workers and activists. Their availability on the web and their links to the wider socioeconomic context of Ukrainian labor movement will help to strengthen existing links (and develop new ones) between groups and initiatives interested in the labor movement. Furthermore, the videos will contribute to creating the history of the labor movement in Ukraine from the perspective of the workers and in their interest, becoming its illustration and subject to analysis.

Video documentation of protests events as well as working and living conditions more generally will address above-mentioned problems in two ways: 

1) by editing and discussing each video made with the workers concerned and also by showing them other videos, filmed in different sites, we wish to encourage solidarity of workers throughout Ukraine, greater awareness of their situation and clearer articulation of demands, with aim to support workers in their struggle; 

2) by showing these videos at conferences and other events for the wider public and by making them available on a website with commentary and other relevant materials, we wish to raise awareness in Ukrainian society about working conditions and labor protests, to prioritize this problem in mass media and politics, to encourage social science research of class relations.
In July and August 2011 we conducted video-documentation at two plants:

- “Galol” oil refining plant in Grogobych, Lviv region (Western Ukraine), where workers have protested between 2004 and 2010 against plant closure and wage arrears:


- Kherson machine-building plant (Southern Ukraine), where workers have occupied the plant in February 2009 to protest against lay-offs and to demand re-nationalization:


In September 2011 we have edited a short film (about 30mins) about the Kherson machine-building plant and presented it at the conference “After labor” (September 19-21), where it was widely discussed by scholars and trade union activists.

In November 2011 the video will become available on DVD.

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