The Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ULIE) was founded shortly after important events in Ukraine's contemporary history took place: the adoption of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine and the beginning of the state building process in the country The industrialists, entrepreneurs and employers joined hands in an effort to form active civil society in the country.
The ULIE, which was created as an outpost for the protection of industries' and workers' interests under tough economic conditions, has grown from a corporate security organization over more than two decades of vigorous activity and today it greatly influences the development of the government's economic policy. It has become a large assembly of business communities which consolidates new business representatives and non-governmental organizations. A small circle of activists has grown into a strong worldwide known regional, industrial and international network with many branches.
The Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs started its history on February 15, 1992. Its predecessor – the Association of Industry, Construction, Transport and Communication "Ukraine" – was established by around 100 organizations, enterprises and entities.
The beginning of Ukraine's state development coincided with serious economic problems that came from the earlier periods. In August 1992 Ukraine withdrew from the ruble zone and introduced the provisional coupon-ruble. It failed to counteract destructive economic processes. The inflation rate grew almost 103 times in 1994.
During that tough time the so-called 'directorial corps' managed to join the efforts and come out as a united force. Entrepreneurs' unions emerged almost in every regional center in order to conduct dialogues with regional authorities and trade unions and try to save enterprises and workers' associations. The Zaporizhia Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs "Potencial", the Association of Manufacturers "Lviv-Contact" and the Association of Industry, Construction, Transport and Communication "Ukraine" were established in 1990. These and other organizations, which later co-founded the ULIE, aspired for the creation of a national union of industrialists and entrepreneurs – that was required by deep economic problems.
Arrangements started and the founding congress took place at the then Trade Ministry (today it is the Economic Development and Trade Ministry) on Lvivska Square in Kyiv in February 1992. It was memorable for profound discussions, insight evaluations and sincere speeches. The need for credit support for manufacturers, creation of financial industrial groups and giving the green light to small- and medium-sized businesses was discussed.
Some 280 delegates were elected for participation in the congress to approve the ULIE guidelines and action plan and adopt the League's Statute. Vasyl Yevtukhov, who at that time was chairing the Verkhovna Rada Commission for the Development of the Key Economy Spheres, was elected as first president of the ULIE. Later on, he worked as a deputy prime minister for industry and construction and deputy prime minister for fuel and energy industry.
One can speak about the League's very interesting history for hours. However, the decisions taken by its congresses probably can say more about it.
The 2nd congress of the ULIE was held on March 6, 1993. Active development of regional structures was underway. The League already consisted of more than 2,000 society members and 300,000 individuals. Regional associations or departments of the League opened in 18 regions. The congress decided to help businesses with the establishment of effective cooperation with the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as with the extension of international links. The ULIE program for the implementation of social and economic reforms in Ukraine was approved.
The 3rd congress of the ULIE took place on December 9, 1993. It put forth an initiative to hold consultations between the government and industrialists and entrepreneurs in search for ways to overcome such phenomena as hyperinflation, a financial credit system crisis, a decline in production, a sharp drop in the living standards of the population. Leonid Danylovych Kuchma, who was former prime minister of Ukraine at that time, was elected as president of the ULIE.
The 4th congress of the ULIE was held on April 14, 1994. The delegates to the congress addressed the parliament and the government with a proposal to develop a joint program aimed at overcoming the crisis in the country.
The 5th congress of the ULIE was arranged on March 30, 1996. The League's action plan for the improvement of work of domestic producers in the conditions of market development and creation of competitive environment was approved. The key measures aimed at the provision of financial support for economic activity of businesses, drawing investment, development of foreign economic activity, support for entrepreneurship, etc. were outlined. Minchenko Anatoliy Kalenykovych, the former head of the State Committee of Ukraine for Material Resources, was elected as ULIE president.
The 6th congress of the ULIE took place on January 21 and its second stage was held on May 19, 1997. The delegates addressed the president of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers with the demands to unite efforts and cancel the decision on the suspension of privatization of big enterprises with the participation of strategic investors, adopt the laws of Ukraine on social partnership and on association of employers. The congress also proposed the government to approve the National Program for the Development of Export Potential of Ukraine and the recommendations on comprehensive solution for the payment crisis. Anatoliy Kyrylovych Kinakh was elected as president of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Ukraine.
The 7th congress of the ULIE was held on February 16 and its second stage was organized on May 25, 1999. An unscheduled congress was called with the aim of adopting a comprehensive program of top-priority anti-crisis measures, which included tax policy reform, overcoming the payment crisis, improvement of the financial credit system, development of the market structure and introduction of investment mechanisms. The list of the ULIE's lawmaking initiatives concerning important social and economic issues was approved. It was proposed to use prioritized anti-crisis measures as the basis for relevant national programs, but instead they became the League's own development program.
The 8th congress of the ULIE was organized on May 30, 2000. The delegates to the congress confirmed that the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs has become a powerful trusted organization. The ULIE was represented in boards of the leading ministries and agencies. The League concluded cooperation agreements with the Foreign Ministry, the State Tax Administration and the State Property Fund of Ukraine. The congress approved the ULIE's action plan for 2000-2002 and decided to intensify activity in the regions.
The 9th congress of the ULIE was held on March 29, 2001. Before it, joint meetings with the State Property Fund, the Anti-Monopoly Committee and the State Committee on Industrial Policy of Ukraine were arranged to discuss the League's initiatives regarding the improvement of the national policy in the spheres of privatization, creation of competitive environment, taxation and budget replenishment.
The 10th congress of the ULIE took place on September 4, 2003. The congress confirmed the guideline chosen by the ULIE to enhance its influence on the current social and economic situation in the country, participation in the activity of legislative and executive agencies as well as improvement in its quantity and quality characteristics via accepting new enterprises to the organization. At that time the League included 38,000 members (including associated ones). The ULIE united businesses that accounted for around 80% of the country's GDP. It was declared that the economy had to be re-oriented from extensive to innovative and investment development; taxation and regulatory policy should be improved; and cooperation between the government and industrial business community should be intensified for the sake of protection of domestic manufacturers' interests on both home and foreign markets.
The 11th congress of the ULIE was held on July 7, 2006. The League's congress took place at the Ukraine Palace. Industrialists and entrepreneurs outlined new tasks which included support for high-technology and development of export potential, preservation and development of Ukraine's transit opportunities, introduction of energy saving technologies, improvement of the finance crediting support system and encouraging investment in small- and medium-sized businesses.
The 12th congress of the ULIE was organized on September 15, 2007. The congress emphasized that entrepreneurs' NGOs should increase their influence on the settlement of important social and economic problems. They had to become independent, form branched regional and field structures with experience in dealing with important economic issues. The delegates of the congress unanimously elected Anatoliy Kinakh as the president of the Ukrainian League of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. It was decided to amend the ULIE Statute for the improvement of work of regional offices, development and strengthening of the organization from inside.
The ULIE held its 13th congress on December 15, 2011. A regular dialogue between the government and businesses was thoroughly analyzed, the congress decided to intensify it and improve its quality. The delegates discussed the development of domestic producers and the national export and import policies. They also decided to launch a national program entitled "Production in Ukraine Has to Be Profitable." Anatoliy Kinakh was elected ULIE president for a new term.
Eventually the community of industrialists, entrepreneurs and employees realized their role in the new conditions of economic development in Ukraine. The ULIE was the first in the country to understand that it was necessary to build social partnership and create a new type of organization. The Confederation of Employers of Ukraine, founded in November 1998, was the first such organization and it incorporated industrial, construction, transport, metallurgy, chemical, commercial and other structures.
In late 2008, the Association of Employers Organizations of Ukraine (AEOU) was created with Anatoliy Kinakh as its head.
The key goal of the AEOU's activity is the protection of rights and legal interests of its members in the economic, social and labor and other fields, including their relations with other sides of social partnership as well as participation in the formation and implementation of the national socioeconomic policy.
The AEOU was founded in 2009. In 2014 alone it included 4 all-Ukrainian associations of employers' organizations, 24 territorial and 9 branch structures. The total number of employers is over 15,000, while the number of employees that work for the employers from the AEOU is more than 1.3 million people.
In 2012, the Association of Employers Organizations of Ukraine obtained the certificate of compliance with the representation criteria. It was an important step that consolidated Ukrainian producers for a single goal – building a modern social dialogue between the government and society, authorities and employers in Ukraine.
The expert and methodology council under the AEOU is responsible for the cooperation with state watchdogs, development of labor protection and occupational health and safety issues as well as expertise of draft instructions and provisions on labor issues.
The AEOU actively participated in drawing up of the General Agreement for 2013-2015, took part in the elaboration of the laws of Ukraine on social dialogue in Ukraine, on employers organizations, their unions, rights and guarantees for their activity, on non-governmental organizations, on employment of population, and it also submitted its proposals to the draft Labor Code of Ukraine and so on. AEOU activists were involved in drafting more than 50 laws and regulations on social and labor relations (on labor contracts and agreements, on the collective disputes settlement procedure, on social insurance, etc.).
Today the AEOU actively works in the international arena. In 2014, it established very fruitful contacts with the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee of the European Commission, reached agreements on regular mutual monitoring of events in the sphere of social dialogue and partnership in Ukraine and Europe.
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