How Trade Union members are supporting Ukrainians

BUDAPEST (ILO News) – With 90 per cent of construction workers out of work in Ukraine, the Construction and Building Materials Industry Workers’ Union (PROFBUD) has found new ways to help its members and the rest of the population survive the hostilities.

Since the onset of the Russian aggression, PROFBUD mobilised to support its members and Ukrainian workers: it launched new services including humanitarian assistance and provided shelter and medical support for internally displaced persons (IDPs), providing 505,000 bednights in trade union facilities since the beginning of March. It has also given financial assistance to unionised workers, 30,000 of them having not received a salary since the end of February.

In these difficult circumstances, PROFBUD members like Oleh, Galyna and Kateryna have found a new purpose in life serving their community.

© ILO    Shelter for the internally displaced in Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine 

Oleh Skovorodnikov and the shelter in Khmelnytskyi

Oleh, the head of PROFBUD in the Khmelnytskyi region, in Western Ukraine, one of the biggest transit regions for internally displaced persons, realized on the second day of the conflict that he needed to provide shelter for workers and their families who were fleeing the areas under attack. With the help of PROFBUD, who rapidly mobilized foreign trade unions, charitable organizations and individuals willing to provide donations, he turned the local union training center “Pobuzhzhyia” into a provisional residence. Oleh was able to create 145 temporary living spaces for families, and another 100 temporary accommodations, and provided them with food.

© ILO     Galyna Bondarchuk with a shipment of diapers for babies 

Galyna Bondarchuk finds vital medicines for unionists

When the war broke out, Galyna Bondarchuk, head of PROFBUD in the Kyiv region, stayed in a village outside the capital with her family. When it became obvious that it was not safe for them to remain there, with Russian troops advancing fast, the family took the risk of crossing the city and spent three days on the road, sleeping in their car. Upon arrival to Lviv, the family settled in the apartment of a colleague from a local plant.

After her gruelling experience, Galyna decided that she wanted to help her fellow unionists who were worse off. She started searching for medicines that were unavailable in occupied regions and in the process started to learn all about them, basically becoming a ‘personal pharmacist’ for unionists all over Ukraine. Her help has been essential for those who would not have survived without their medication.

© ILO        Kateryna Zubova

Kateryna Zubova, crane operator in Kyiv now works as concierge

Kateryna Zubova, is a union member and tower crane operator, living and working in the suburbs of Kyiv, a couple of kilometres from Bucha, a town destroyed by Russian troops. Because of constant threats of air raids and missile attacks, working on a tower crane became too dangerous. She couldn’t work but couldn’t quit her job either to register for unemployment or get another job with her employer.

She felt helpless. From the window of her apartment on the 17th floor, Kateryna saw how rockets destroyed residential buildings. For more than three weeks she spent her nights in the basement.

With all the concierges in her building having left, Kateryna slowly took over their duties. She sat in the small room where they used to work and turned it into a message centre where hundreds of people came every day, asking questions or leaving messages. “Our army does so much to protect us, but not everyone can be a solider, we must do our bit. The concierge room is my outpost,” says Kateryna.

Many of the Ukrainians fleeing the Russian aggression have also sought safety in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova. With the help of the ILO, the National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova (CNSM) has mobilised and established refugee shelters providing housing and food for the refugees. Since the beginning of the hostilities, they have provided more than 28,500 bednights in different facilities, like the Sanatoriul Bucuria-Sind, around 40 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, or their training centre in the Moldovan capital, Chisinau.

For details about the ILO response in Ukraine, visit


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