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Ukraine: Crisis In Standards Of Living

Ukraine: UN-Backed Survey Finds Crisis In Standards Of Living

Poverty and insecurity are prevailing in Ukraine, where workers earn less than $100 per capita, and 40 per cent are owed a backlog of wages, according to a new study by the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO).

The People's Security Survey, conducted by the ILO and Ukraine's State Committee of Statistics, involved over 9,000 adults and found that average income is less than the estimated amount needed to maintain a subsistence standard of living.

The percentage of workers not receiving their contractual wages was higher in 2003 than the year before, with agricultural workers being hardest hit.

Commenting on the findings, Guy Standing, Director of the ILO's Socio-Economic Security Programme, said "the worst aspect shown in this year's survey was the sense of apathy and pessimism among almost all groups in society."

According to the survey, some 85 per cent of adults felt that their household income was insufficient to cover for their healthcare needs, while four out of every five adults expected their financial situation in old age to be bad or very bad.

Workers reported staying in their jobs largely because they saw no chance of obtaining another, and only one in five workers was confident about retaining their employment over the next year, the ILO said. Only a small minority can use, or have access to, a computer;

"In spite of all these adverse developments, Ukrainians appear to have retained a sense of social solidarity," Mr. Standing observed. Nearly nine out of ten workers supported equal wages for men and women, and over three-quarters expressed support for equal pay for citizens and legal immigrants. "In short, social and other values are persisting in economically insecure circumstances," he noted.

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