Ukraine crisis

Trade unions in Ukraine and Moldova use their properties to provide shelter for internally displaced persons and refugees

With ILO support, trade unions in Ukraine and Moldova help internally displaced people and refugees arriving from Ukraine by providing food and shelter. Since the beginning of the hostilities, Ukrainian trade unions provided 10,000 bednights, while Moldovan trade unions arranged 3,000 bednights.

News | 28 July 2022

© ILO     Alexia and her mother at Sanatoriul Bucuria-Sind, Republic of Moldova 

Since 24 February 2022, the attack by the Russian Federation against Ukraine has resulted in millions of Ukrainians fleeing the country. Many of them have sought safety in the neighbouring Republic of Moldova. The National Trade Union Confederation of Moldova (CNSM) established refugee shelters providing housing and food for desperate people fleeing the fighting. The ILO is working with the trade unions to make services accessible for as many refugees as possible.

To effectively assist refugees, the CNSM has been making use of their properties, both at a hotel in Chisinau and sanatoriums east of the capital. One of the main trade union sanatoriums that have been turned into a refugee shelter is Sanatoriul Bucuria-Sind, around 40 kilometres from the border with Ukraine. 

At the time of a recent ILO visit to Sanatoriul Bucuria-Sind, there were 200 refugees living there. All of them were housed in decent living quarters, and provided with three hot meals per day. 

One of the refugees was 12 years old Alexia. She fled from Nikolaev with her mom after the city was bombed and was no longer safe.

Alexia likes it at the sanatorium: instead of bombs, she watches birds and flowers; the food is good and there is a river to swim in nearby. But like the other refugees at the sanitorium, she misses home.

While it is still too early for most refugees to return to Ukraine, CNSM continues their efforts to help. In addition to the shelter in Bucuria-Sind, their training center in Chisinau also provided shelter for refugees. The trade union sanatorium in Nufarul Alb took part in accommodating Ukrainian families, too. 

The trade unions in Ukraine have also used properties and organizational capacity to assist refugees. One the properties they have used is the Hetman Hotel in Lviv, where the Federation of Trade Unions of Ukraine (FPU) has established a refugee centre. Trade union officials and volunteers work around the clock to give refugees a roof over their heads and provide food, medicine, and clothes.

Tetiana Bilyha is from Lysychansk, Donetsk region. She is one of the refugees receiving shelter and supplies from the trade union. When the war started, she fled towards Lviv with her granddaughter Evelyna. On their way, there was bombing close to Kyiv railway station. They were held up there for 48 hours before they managed to continue towards safety.
“We are very grateful to the Lviv regional trade unions for providing shelter to our children in Lviv. In this difficult time of war in Ukraine, we want our children to be protected, alive and well,” Tetiana Bilyha says.

For more information about ILO support to trade union relief efforts in Ukraine, contact Sr Workers Specialist Magnus Berge at budapest@ilo.org.