Victor Yushchenko met with Social Policy Minister Mykhailo Papiyev, Health Minister Yuriy Polyachenko and Education Minister Stanislav Nikolayenko on Monday to talk about social issues, according to the President`s press-office. Their discussion particularly focused on how to pay budget salaries on time.

Citing statistical data, the President said he was worried the salary debt had recently grown by 11% (UAH 90 mln) at companies and factories controlled by the Industrial Ministry, Energy Ministry, Coal Ministry, Emergency Ministry and the State Property Fund. He said such companies were made bankrupt for privatization.

“Where is your efficient work with state property?” he asked, adding that he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych with a request to settle the problem. 

Then he outlined his plan to resolve the salary crisis. He believes trade unions, prosecutor’s offices and other controllers should oversee how employers adhere to the country’s labor laws and punish those who do not pay salaries.

The President said the salary issue must be a top priority for regional administrations and local self-governments, urging them to enforce mechanisms for executing compulsory court decisions to pay salaries.

They also spoke about families with many children, especially how to ensure that children from such families can enter state universities. Mr. Yushchenko described the issue as one of the fundamentals of the country’s social policy and called on the government to show “real actions, not just declarations.”

He asked the ministers to submit their proposals on how to introduce effective social reforms within a week and promised to sign them as decrees.