Ukrainian troops re-entered the port city of Kherson in southern Ukraine on 11 November, bringing the city with a pre-war population of 300,000 back under Ukrainian control for the first time since February 2022. Kherson is the regional capital of one of the four regions Russia claimed to have been annexed in an illegal and illegitimate referendum in September 2022. Human rights experts are researching reports of widespread torture and arbitrary detention under the eight-month occupation.
Trade unions and labor activists are concerned about a planned merger of Ukraine’s benefits and pension funds, arguing the proposed cost-cutting measure will hobble the state’s ability to fund its social obligations. The move is part of a longer trend to remove the state from social provision criticized by domestic and international trade unions.
In the week of 21-27 September, President Vladimir Putin announced illegal and illegitimate annexation referendums in parts of Russian-occupied Ukraine, a “partial” mobilization of Russian military reserves in support of the war on Ukraine, and then oversaw the conduct of sham referendums themselves. The annexation severely infringes on the rights and continued security of the Ukrainian citizens living in the area in question. The mobilization has been marked by haphazard administration and resulted in more than 200,000 Russian men fleeing the country to avoid conscription.
On 17 August Ukraine ratified a law exempting firms with under 250 employees, or about 70% of the country’s workforce, from the country’s labour code for the duration of martial law. The law has been criticized by labour unions and the International Labour Organization (ILO) for removing collective bargaining rights and violating the ILO’s social dialogue principle.