Article 24 of the law “On the Procedure for Settling Collective Labor Disputes (Conflicts)” may prevent strikes by Ukrainian transport workers, following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Denis Rabomizo, a partner at the Rabomizo law firm, expressed this opinion to the Center for Transport Strategies.
He noted that this law stipulates that strikes may be banned if they pose a threat to human life and health or the environment. In addition, protests are not permissible in cases of prevention or alleviation of the aftermath of natural disasters, accidents, disasters, and epidemics. "It follows from this provision that a national court or government agency must assess each potential strike based on these conditions," said the lawyer.
Moreover, according to him, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of employees of the AeroSvit airline because flight crews were involved in the dispute. "The ruling could have been the opposite if, for example, the dispute involved air traffic controllers," said Rabomizo.
As reported, representatives of the AeroSvit airline’s flight crews, including five of the plaintiffs, decided in September 2011 to go on strike over a labor dispute with the airline’s management. The dispute involved the sizes of wages, social benefits, and safety. The strike committee provided advance warning about the strike, but the airline went to court and secured a ruling banning the strike on the grounds that a strike by pilots violates the laws of Ukraine. Higher courts upheld this ruling.
The courts based their rulings on the Transport Act, which prohibits strikes at transport enterprises if they obstruct transportation of passengers, as well as the Labor Code, which also bans such actions if they are life-threatening or injurious to health.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on 2 October 2014 that the actions of the airline violated Article 11 (freedom of peaceful assembly) of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered payment of EUR 20,000 to the plaintiffs.