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Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.


Bureau of International Labor Affairs

ILAB Press Release: Labor Secretary Herman Signs Technical Assistance Agreement With Ukraine [07/26/2000]

For more information call: (202) 219-6373 ext. 4

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexis M. Herman signed a memorandum of understanding today with Ukraine, making it eligible to participate in the Labor Department's technical assistance initiatives. The agreement partners the department with the Ukrainian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

"We have mutually shared interests in working together to build greater employment opportunities and social safety nets in Ukraine," Secretary Herman said. "We are ready to support the efforts that are underway there to address these priorities."

Herman signed the memorandum with her Ukrainian counterpart, Minister of Labor and Social Policy Ivan Sakhan.

Under the cooperative plan, the Labor Department will implement five projects in mine safety and health, dislocated worker services, child labor, industrial relations and gender equity. The Labor Department will budget $3.75 million for the program in fiscal year 2000, the first year of the two-year program.

The administration designated Ukraine a foreign policy priority in recognition of the critical social and economic concerns facing that country in its transition to democracy and an open market economy. Last April the Labor Department conducted a project design mission to Ukraine and at that time secured the Ministry of Labor's commitment to serve as a key partner in the project implementation activities.

The mine safety and health project component is in direct response to the Barakova mine accident this past March in which 81 miners were killed. This assistance will focus on inspector training, coal dust suppression and explosion prevention techniques.

Ukraine's move to restructure its economy has involved privatization and closure of bankrupt firms, for example, which have produced layoffs and other worker dislocations. The department's project will be modeled on its successful displaced worker assistance programs in Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia.

In the child labor area, the Labor Department will work to help Ukraine develop a national policy, including a plan of action to combat child labor. The project will include specific measures to harmonize the country's laws with international standards and to improve its institutional capacity to investigate and monitor the problem. Lastly, it will involve undertaking a pilot program to replace exploitative work with educational opportunities. This work will be implemented through the International Labor Organization with funding from the Labor Department.

In addition, the International Labor Organization, again with funding from the department, will institute a program for Ukraine on fostering effective industrial relations activities to prevent and resolve labor disputes and promote collective bargaining.

Finally, the department will fund an International Labor Organization project on gender equity which will be aimed at strengthening enforcement of nondiscrimination provisions of the country's labor laws, promoting equality in the workplace and helping to improve Ukraine's laws and regulations overall on equality in employment.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Labor and Social Policy will provide staff support and will share information as necessary for the implementation and evaluation of the program.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Bureau of International Labor Affairs
July 26, 2000
Contact: David Roberts
Phone Number