Saturday, 28 November 2009

Local Protest

ZSP members took part in organizing a local protest in the Praga district where the authorities want to liquidate overground pedestrian crossings, make more space for cars and force pedestrians to use underground tunnels. Although the city pays a lot of lip service to making Warsaw more "green", or promoting public transport, everything it does is oriented towards cars. The protest was called during a "consultation" with the public, which was a farce. Almost nobody was invited except a few people from NGOs - and only because they demanded the meeting and called other people. Only a couple of local people came, on our invitation, because the city only confirmed the meeting the day before. The city is building a metro station on the main intersection of Praga, currently one of the busiest in the city. While building the metro, they want to totally liquidate pedestrian crossings. Despite the fact that all gathered there were against the plans and that several architects already made alternative proposals, two which were presented at the meeting, it all doesn't matter because the politicians announce that it's "too late" to change their plans, that they consulted with nobody. No competition for the plans were even announced. Members of ZSP condemned the farce of social consultation and called on residents to walk overground anyway and to make a series of direct actions. The first one was organized very quickly and was mostly informational. Residents of Praga took part and Greens. People crossed the streets and blocked traffic, spoke on the corners and handed out leaflets. Some people heard about this for the first time and spontaneously joined the protest. We are calling for a bigger protest in upcoming weeks. Although this one was modest, it sparked a lot of discussion in the papers, on TV and among politicians and urban planners. Read more!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Protest at the City Council

The Tenant's Defense Committee (KOL) and the Warsaw Tenant's Association interrupted the City Council meeting to protest their policies. The city guards asked people to leave but the members of KOL refused because they are protesting against the city budget. They exposed that although the city claimed that money from rent increases in public housing would go to repairing housing, which is really falling apart, they allocated money differently in the draft budget. Only a small portion of this money will go on repairs - the rest goes to bureaucrat's salaries . And of the money allocated for repairs, a good deal is  some sort of gentrification  work to be done at inflated costs. A member of KOL and ZSP planned to make a presentation on this matter at the council - whether permitted or not and KOL calls for the dismissal of anybody who approves the draft budget, as it breaks the obligations set up in the same resolution that raised the rents.

The budget however was not discussed due to tense opposition, not only by the public, but by opposition councilpeople who demanded some breakdowns and some changes before discussion and voting. It will probably be discussed at the next session where there are more protests planned. Read more!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Congress ZSP

On November 21-22 the ZSP Congress was held in Szczecin. One of the topics there were the growing incidence of cheating workers at construction sites. In Wroclaw one colleague who worked at a site run by the  company KUK was not paid when the Polish firm closed its office. It is a German firm which set up an office in Poland for a construction project, closed the office without paying people and claim that this was a "different firm" than the German one. Members of ZSP decided to help with this case and a member of ZSP in the construction industry is agitating at his workplace. We decided that we need to make a wider campaign for workers on these sites and carry out agitation and information activities.

Read more!