Saturday 28 February 2009

More on the Worst Employer of the Year

The Worst of the Worst

Vobro. A confectionery plant from Brodnica. In additions to rather poor working conditions generally, there were many health and safety problems in the plant, including the use of obsolete and dangerous machinery. On the 16th of April 2008, 21 year old Krzysztof Pruszewicz died in a work accident. Many violations occured after this as the factory tried to cover up the accident and blame it on the worker. There was a long chain of collusion in the cover-up. The work inspector, for example, was the brother of the person at the Vobro factory responsible for health and safety and the owner of the factory the most influential man in town with political connections.

For some time, even months, we knew about this situation but the family of the victim did not want publicity but wanted to "quietly" and legally "get justice". But they found none. After some months, Krysztof's sister was finally convinced to write about the accident and to make some noise.

The report about the accident was first published on CIA, where tens of thousands of people read it. It was then republished on many internet portals and the story eventually made it into the mainstream media, the main newspapers and TV. Thanks to this pressure, local authorities were under scrutiny and pressure to reopen the case. As of yet however, nothing really has been done. To make matters worse, somebody (or a couple of people) we expect are connected to the management of the factory were trying to slander the sister of the victim on our web pages, in order to attempt to make her story seem less reliable. We of course do not allow this as we know it is probably the actions of management.

In December results of a new inspection were revealed however showing massive abuse of overtime with at least 80 people documented to have worked well over the allowed limits. Amongst the people this concerned were also handicapped workers. They were forced to work even at night in tough conditions with, for example, temperatures in the factory regularly over 45 degrees celsius.

Vobro, and especially its boss, Wojciech Wojenkowski, (a demonstratively devout Catholic), certainly deserve the title of Worst Employer of the Year.

DisHonourable Mentions

There were two runners-up: Almar2 from Krakow and Redan.

Almar2 is a medium-size business which is a wholesaler of daily products and cooking oils. People who want to work there have an unpaid trial period. People are forced to work on holidays and get many deductions taken from their salaries. The bosses also change the salary and lower it if they made a lower profit than expected explaining that "they didn't earn that much that month". The over 100 employees of them firm often find that they don't know what they'll earn and take home less than minimum wage. And they are told they shouldn't complain since they should be "lucky" they have any job at all.


This large company is in the clothing business and runs a few popular clothing chains including the Morgan, Top Secret and Troll. Workers in some of the shops are forced to work overtime under threat of dismissal. The work schedules are often illegal, for example 12 hour shifts three days in a row. The work schedules are often changed with no notice and people are expected to work whenever they are needed. If you are a student (like many of the retail employees), your schedule is not important. The work duties are also changed regularly and people are forced to do things that are not their job. Also the are shops which deduct the costs of stolen property from the employees' salaries.

No doubt there are even many worse employer's in Poland but these were the worst in our contest. So far we have got some new candidates for next year so we will keep this contest running throughout the year and see what information people send us.

Hopefully somehow the contest will inspire some of the victims of bad bosses to take action.
Read more!

ZSP finds "Worst employer of year"

ZSP held a contest for the title of "Worst employer of year 2008." Any person could nominate the employer. Many people wrote and told of breaking the workers rights in their workplace. Last week ZSP announced the winner... or maybe we should say, the losers.

First place went to firm Vobro. Some workers from this chocolate factory made nomination, as well as members of family of Krzysztof Pruszewicz, who died in factory and readers of CIA. ZSP promises to deliver prize personally to boss.
About the death of Krzysztof you can read here:

Next worst was decided Almar2 firm from Krakow.

Working conditions there are very bad. The people have to work free during trial period, which is illegal. They have to work on holidays and bosses cheat with salaries. Also they make salaries depend on "bonuses" and make this depend on incomes of company. So it is possible to get less than a minimum salary.

Third place was firm Redan, which runs the clothing stores in Poland, many chains. This is very bad: people have to work sometimes 12 hours, even 3 days in row, with threat to be fired. They make tricks not to give employment contract - making different agreements with agencies. Also when the customers shoplift from stores, they take money from salary of workers.

Members of ZSP said contest was popular and hoping next year even more. They made it because always there are awards for good bosses, but workers should have chance to say their boss is bad.

Also it is good way for people to signal the problems. Some advice and help was given to a couple of people who asked.

by Pantera

Read more!

Saturday 21 February 2009

Discussion at Anti-Nato Conference

On February 20, members of ZSP Warsaw, who are also part of an antimilitarist campaign, participated in the Conference connected with the anti-NATO protest held February 19. The Conference had speakers from FA Krakow, ZSP and AF from France.

The presentation by one ZSP member focused mostly on the hyprocrisy of NATO, showing how they were cooperating with war criminals and fundamentalists on the one hand, and then fighting with them. There was also a film on the militarization of space and discussion about NATO. Read more!

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Lionbridge Case: Report, Case Study

The Lionbridge Case is apparently being used as an example case study in corporate training these days. It was interesting from the legal point of it.

It is also mentioned in ITUC's annual Report of Violation of Trade Union Rights. A copy of the report is available here: Read more!