Tuesday 31 March 2009

Groen Flex and Eurocontract Zeeland, a misty clutter

From the Solidariteit webzine.
Groen Flex and Eurocontract Zeeland, a misty clutter

Polish temp worker fights back1

On the 12th of December 2008 Michal signed a contract with the temporary employment agency Groen Flex in the Polish city Opole. Groen Flex would send him to work with Eurocontract Zeeland in the Netherlands. The contract applied for a period 78 weeks and they told Michal he would work in glasshouses with vegetables. The contract, signed in both Poland and the Netherlands, guaranteed health insurance starting December 15th 2008. This ‘guarantee’ became the point of difference between Michal and his union on the one hand and Groen Flex on the other.

On his first workday, the 15th of December, he was send to work at the Koninklijke Schelde in Vlissingen, a shipyard! He started working, even though he never did such work, didn’t get any (safety) instructions, and not being able to speak Dutch nor English he couldn’t read one warning sign. Just like many others before and after him, Michal came to the Netherlands to make money. First of all because it’s a lot harder to find a job in Poland and second of all because the wages are much lower. Out of fear to lose their jobs with the employer (Groen Flex) and the principal (the shipyard), when just arrived to the Netherlands, a lot of workers don’t regard their own safety.

Not insured

A few days after that, the unsafe situation repeated itself in Middelburg. Without safety clothes or protective mask Michal cleaned a ship. The matter he got exposed to, appeared to cause harm and Michal lost his consciousness. They brought him to the hospital of Vlissingen, cardiology department.

Through another Polish person who was living in the Netherlands, Michal was able to communicate with the doctors. No one of Groen Flex or the company he worked at came to visit him. After 24 hours Michal was released from the hospital. After that he was told there was no more work for him, after working just one week of the 78 applied weeks of the contract. His employers told him everything with the hospital bill would get settled, because he was insured. On the 9th of January Michal went back to Poland. There it appeared he wasn’t insured by the company at all. The 2.316,50 Euro bill for medical assistance was send to his home address. Groen Flex didn’t pay for his health insurance during his stay in the Netherlands. Michal called the office for clarification. There he was told that Groen Flex didn’t have anything to do with Eurocontract (even though Groen Flex represents that company in Poland) and that he should take legal proceedings against Groen Flex.
Out of Poland Michal and his union, the Polish Union of Syndicalists (ZSP)
2, started up to fight against Groen Flex.

First findings

Groen Flex and Eurocontract share a website and office together. Also, data at the Chamber of Commerce show that the companies are closely connected together as Groen Flex is the only stockholder of Eurocontract. Last weeks the ZSP started up an examination and an Internet forum based on Michal and others' information3. On various fora for and by Polish workers in the Netherlands debates are going on about Groen Flex. Also before folks in Poland explored ways to take on Groen Flex. From the Netherlands came support from the Vrije Bond (Free Union)4. Here the first findings.

  1. The connection between Groen Flex and Eurocontract seems deliberately kept unclear. This causes that a lot of workers don't know who their employer is.

  2. The provisional contract signed in Poland is misleading. Promises made in Opole about types of work, place of work, housing, working hours and wages mostly can't be redeemed.
    Even though promised full time jobs, there are a lot of days without any work. The places the workers are housed, are all in possession of Groen Flex, like a former hotel and a converted officebuilding. There are many complaints about the weekly checks, night clock and searches through personal belongings in the hotel in Wateringen. It also happens that the costs of meals are being taken automatically from the paychecks, unregardingly if they took the meals or not.

  3. Workers are being send to different working places without any information, causing that simple information even like the name of the principal stays unknown.

  4. Also in other cases Groen Flex dealt inaccurately with health damaging work at principals. It also happened before that (former) workers received hospital bills at their homes. There are multiple reports about how Groen Flex neglects to make ascertain the principals give enough training and supply safety equipment.

  5. The ending of contracts can happen without any clear reason. Various people who signed a contract for several months, got send home early. There was no more work. There are also cases of people who only worked one week in the Netherlands. They didn't get any compensation.

  6. Polish workers appear to be in the Netherlands without a contract, this is prohibited by law.

  7. There are also reports about late payments. Mainly the first payment came up two to three months late.

  8. Groen Flex and Eurocontract are not responding to complaints of workers.

  9. Workers have bad juridical possibilities when injustice is done. The case has to take place in a Dutch court. And this keeps a lot of them from pulling through with the proceedings when back in Poland and unable to speak Dutch.


The Polish Union of Syndicalists made these demands to Groen Flex and Eurocontract:

  1. Cooperation of Groenflex and Eurocontract in the case of Michal for obtaining compensation for his hospital bill and all compensation he is seeking from the end-user employer and employer.

  2. Ensuring that all workers receive proper health and safety training, equipment and care from their end-user employers.

  3. Providing perspective employees with the final contract to be signed in Poland, not Holland. The contract should be signed with the Polish legal entity, not the Dutch one.

  4. The job description should be clearly stated in the contract. Workers should be compensated should this work not be available.

  5. Contracts should not be terminated early without reason. Failure to provide employment should be treated as breach of contract on the part of the employer and should require compensation to the employee.

  6. All payments should be made on time, to the bank of the employee’s choice or in cash. Employees should not be forced to open accounts in a specific bank.

  7. All employees should be informed of the name of the end-user employer where they are working.

  8. In the case of an industrial accident or other unfortunate circumstances, the agency should help the worker obtain compensation from the end-user employer.

  9. The agency should make sure that employee insurance has started before their first day on the job. Employees should receive evidence of being insured from the agency when insurance payments are deducted from their wages.

  10. The agency in Opole must stop misleading potential employees by making false promises or misrepresenting the work to be performed or other aspects of the employment.


Last months the Polish Union of Syndicalists tried to sue Groen Flex in Poland. It is possible, but juridically it's very complicated because of unclarities in the labor acts of the European Union. Dozens of other cases people tried to make, never made it to court. This explains why Groen Flex Poland is this arrogant to tell Michal to go and start a court case. But this time it might be different than in previous cases. First of all because Groen Flex had to deal with the ZSP, a small but persistent union that has international contacts and gets support from the Netherlands in this case.

Friday the 13th of February 2009 this turned into action, as well in Poland as in the Netherlands. At six in the morning members of the Vrije Bond handed out pamphlets to Polish workers at 'Pension De Zak' in Overzande. This is where Michal stayed while he was working in the Netherlands. Elaborately was spoken with the workers, who just woke up and made themselves ready to go to work or get picked up by a van. This gave more information about ways that Groen Flex works and the precarious situation of the mainly Polish workers.

Shortly after that, the Groen Flex office in Opole got occupied by a couple of dozen members of the ZSP. People who passed by got pamphlets. And the press was very interested in this international action. After all, which Polish family doesn't have relatives working abroad. The occupants stayed the whole day in the Groen Flex office, and made their demands to the manager and forced negotiations. The manager was surprised by the action and showed his astonishment to the local television. He got caught in his stories while the occupants were able to uncover his lies. Under the eye of the camera he promised to pay and compensate.

1 This article was originally published on the Dutch unionist webzine Solidariteit: http://www.solidariteit.nl/extra/2009/poolse_uitzendkracht_vecht_terug.html

2 Part of the ZSP website is in English: zsp.net.pl/english

Read more!

Sunday 29 March 2009

New Issue of Zaplata

Polish workers in your town?

If anybody would like to get a few copies of the new issue of our paper, Zaplata, write to us and we can send them out so you get them before May Day.

info@zsp.net.pl Read more!

Saturday 28 March 2009

Problems at Lionbridge Again

Workers at Lionbridge are restless again as the company announced that it would be firing hundreds of workers and consolidating some offices. Despite attempts to bust the union at the Polish office, it is still present in the Warsaw office. Members of ZSP are monitoring the situation. Read more!

Friday 27 March 2009

We Support Babylon Cinema Workers!

On March 11, Benoit Robin, a projectionist at Babylon Cinema in Berlin and an activist of FAU, was fired from his job. He was in the midst of organizing for improved working conditions in the cinema.

In January a FAU group was organized at the cinema. The workers there have poor wages: from 5.5-6 euro per hour, 6.4 euro for projectionists. This is a very poor wage in the industry. Many of the workers are precarious and have no contracts. They have no paid holiday or other benefits. By comparison, workers in another cinema chain receive 8.5 euro per hour plus 30 pays paid vacation.

Currently 27 people work at the cinema.

The cinema cannot be said to be in poor financial condition. As an art cinema, it receives a large government subsidy - almost a half million euros per year. Despite this, the workers in Babylon Cinema get extremely low wages - even less than in some workplaces known for their extremely poor work conditions.

The workers at the cinema organized a protest during the Berlin film festival. A month later, Robin was fired. It is believed that he was fired due to this organizing campaign.

Robin was not the only comrade ever fired from Babylon. Last year one comrade was fired for no reason but later received compensation for this. He is currently involved in the protests and organizing campaign.

The workers of the cinema have a blog: http://prekba.blogsport.de

There is also an online petition you can sign: http://prekba.blogsport.de/solidaritaets-erklaerung

There is a video here (in German) with a machine translation of an article about the situation, but you can get the sense.


FAU was asking people to send letters to the cinema:

Neue Babylon Berlin GmbH
Tel.: 0049 (0)30-24 727 804
Fax: 0049 (0)30-24 727 800

Re.: Dismissal of Benoit Robin

It has come to my attention that staff at the Babylon Cinema and the FAU-IWA, which has a presence there, have been opposing the precarious working conditions at the cinema.

I was sorry to learn that projectionist and union member Benoit Robin was fired just before he would have become entitled to job protection. This message is a strong protest against that unfair labour practice. Beyond the issue immediately at hand, I urge you to desist from interfering with organizing in your shop.

Best Regards

Copy of your letter to : faub5@fau.org
Read more!

Free Praga

Members of ZSP Warsaw took over the editorship of the free neighbourhood paper "Free Praga". The paper is meant for residents of Warsaw's Praga district and usually contains information on local political events, corruption, social problems of the neighbourhood, cultural and political events plus advice.

This issue of the paper is devoted to the question of gentrification and explains the expected effects of government sponsored "revitalization" programs. There is information on tenants protests, on the situation of tenants in a reprivatized house and on new rent increases and what kinds of discounts and subsidies you may get. Besides this, this is information on new high-end housing projects to be built in the neighbourhood and about tenants and neighbourhood associations in Warsaw and in the ocmmunity. Other subjects include information on how the Polish state cooperates with Vietnamese secret services to deport people, about Komuna Otwock theatre which holds some interesting political discussions and about consultation on Labour Law in the Infoshop.

For Polish readers, a copy of this issue of Wolna Praga (Free Praga) is available on line here: http://anarchiwum.bzzz.net/yak/wolna_praga_6.pdf
Read more!

Friday 20 March 2009

Practical Approach to the Crisis: An Appeal to Share Information and a Presentation of Activities of Priama akcia – IWA/AIT Slovakia

In November 2008 Priama akcia started to monitor the effects of the financial crisis on Slovakia. We hope our activities will inspire others to do similar things in their countries. We started with our first activities in November 2008 and the second phase was launched in February 2009. In addition to leaflets, posters and a questionnaire, we have also set up an online discussion forum which is unique because of its working class perspective, and created an interactive online map which illustrates how many people were or are planned to be made redundant since October 2008 (also where and by what firm). We have also written or translated articles linked to the crisis and posted them on our website (e.g. about temporary agency workers, direct actions, and more).

We would like to appeal to all the IWA-AIT Sections and Friends to share and spread the information about:
* the actions of the workers against the consequences of the crisis
* their activities concerning the crisis
* spheres hit most by the crisis in your country (regionally as well as industrially)

PRIAMA AKCIA’s “We don’t intend to be the ones who will pay for the crisis!” ACTIVITIES

1st phase (November 2008 – January 2009)

In the last couple of months we have seen more and more feverish attempts of state governments and international organizations to “solve” the financial crisis. Several quite important meetings took place in USA, EU, and on the national level. Bail-out packages, stronger regulation, and other measures have been proposed in order to save capitalism.

And what has the anarchist response to the crisis been so far? As for Priama akcia, we have come with the aim to use the crisis to build and maintain a network of contacts, through which we can exchange information and experiences about the consequences of the crisis (such as people being made redundant or workers’ struggles). This network could also constitute a basis for future meetings, discussions, and concrete solidarity actions.

In November 2008 Priama akcia prepared:
* Leaflets (an excerpt of the leaflet is translated below), which we spread mostly in trains as travelling is also a good opportunity to read.
* Posters, which we place mostly around bus and train stations and plan to use also around factories hit by crisis.
* Questionnaire, which is part of the initiative of FAU (German section of IWA/AIT) and German Wildcat collective. It is currently placed online at our website (in Slovak). We can translate to English on demand. The questions are aimed at understanding the effects of the crisis in regions, workplaces, etc.

We have also asked people to post these information wherever possible (websites, forums, blogs, profiles, MySpace, hi5, Facebook, etc.).

2nd phase (since February 2009)

The key idea in the second phase is the participation of all the people we could reach. We have suggested a number of activities in which they could take part.

At this point, social networks are the most important thing that we have and can actively use. Family, friends, acquaintances, people we meet from time to time, people from different regions – they can all help or at least pass the information further via their social networks. It is vital to spread the information to everyone we know. This way we can get information from all over the country and maybe other countries as well.

There are several ways to reach the aims put forward in November 2008 (see above):

1) Contacting people who were made redundant or those threatened to lose their job
The idea is to form and maintain local contacts with these people. There are several means to achieve this, mainly spreading the information using social networks. This way we can get information about their situation, asking them to fill in our questionnaire, or other possibilities listed below.

We also wrote about best ways to approach people who we don’t know very well (how to begin, what to ask, how to explain why we are trying to get the information, etc.).

The purpose of collecting and connecting workers experiences is not “theoretical” but practical. At the same time we are able to find out how the employers and unions respond to the crisis (How do they act towards employers? What do they say to justify job losses? Who is being made redundant first? What do they offer? Are they doing anything to prevent the consequences of the crisis? What do they tell the workers? How are the workers treated and how do they respond to it? etc.).

2) Filling in the questionnaire (initiative of Wildcat and FAU, see above)
Since November we have received several dozens of questionnaires and we are waiting for more to come. We have also prepared a text version of the questionnaire, which can be printed out and given to people without Internet access, and sent to us by post or e-mail.

3) A map depicting all the areas where people were made redundant
After several weeks of processing the information from mass media about people being made redundant in Slovakia we have come up with an online map at kriza.priamaakcia.sk/mapaprepustania which is to be updated regularly. More than 15 000 people (0.57% of around 2.65 mil. working population) have lost their jobs since October 2008, and this number is expected to grow. People can help us updating the map by sending their information. The map is not 100% accurate because the media do not cover all the job cuts (e.g. agency/external workers are rarely mentioned) and there are job losses that occur without a direct link to the crisis. The map can also be used to promote our activities (it can be placed on web-sites, used as a signature on various online forums, etc.).

4) An online discussion forum about the crisis
We have created a web forum kriza.priamaakcia.sk, which aims at provoking discussions about the situation in the workplaces, situation of those who were made redundant, and possibilities to help each other and solve the problems in a way that will benefit the workers. Theoretical discussions about the causes of the crisis, deeper political and economic context, and the consequences for the workers are also welcome. The forum can also serve as an archive of information (articles from mass media, etc.).

5) Spreading the information about our activities via posters, web forums, banners, MySpace/Facebook profiles, etc.
It is vital to use as many information channels as possible, mainly alternative media and social networks that we have. We have updated the poster (which can be placed in the surrounding area of a company that plans or has made some workers redundant or close to crowded places, such as bus and train stations, etc.) and are currently working on a new leaflet/bulletin. We have also prepared a couple of online banners (promoting the questionnaire and the forum). They can be placed on a website, used as a signature, added to a MySpace/Facebook profile, etc. The same goes for the map.

6) Asking for help with translations of foreign articles and interviews
There have been strikes and other activities against the consequences of the crisis in the world. They represent experiences of workers, and can be an inspiration the current situation. There are some valuable articles waiting to be translated, and people can help also with that.

7) Instant messaging
Instant messaging is a quick and effective form of communication. Therefore we have created not only an e-mail account, but also an ICQ and jabber account and a Facebook profile.

2008 LEAFLET (excerpt)
Our main aims in the situation of crisis is creating a network of contacts, which could lead to:

• Exchange of information about the consequences of the crisis
• Exchange of experiences from conflicts in workplaces or elsewhere
• Future meetings, discussions and solidarity actions

Certainly this is just one of the possibilities. However, it is vital to start relying on ourselves.

Let’s mind our own “business”
No one promised us anything in this crisis. No one will give us a generous compensation if we lose our job. We will get only what we fight for. On the other hand, the banks and businessmen are being saved by the state.

Some of us will turn to the unions for help, others will rely on the solutions proposed by the politicians, yet others just accept grudgingly whatever comes and think that there is little we can do about it. However, some might start solving their problems (not only) in the workplace together with their colleagues.

Politicians, bosses and bankers mind only their own business. And that is what we should be doing as well, minding our own “business”. Our problems will not just disappear, no matter how, when or even if the system is saved. They will remain here, provoking our discontent and the effort to solve them ourselves.

That is why we have to be informed about each other’s situation, maintain contacts and help each other. We hope that this crisis will be a huge incentive to do that. No one else will solve the problems according to our needs and interests. Only we ourselves.

English section of Priama akcia website: http://www.priamaakcia.sk/index.php?action=view_category&id=200
E-mail: info(at)priamaakcia(dot)sk
Read more!

Tuesday 17 March 2009

GroenFlex Update

Eurocontract, the firm from Holland which employs people through Groen Flex, say that they agree to pay Michalek's hospital bill. But they haven't done it yet. We will check how this develops.

ZSP does not drop other demands to Groenflex and Eurocontract and encourage other workers to come forward and organize themselves. Read more!

Monday 16 March 2009

8th Anniversary of the Warsaw Infoshop

March 15 was the 8th anniversay of the Warsaw Infoshop "Grapes of Wrath" - commonly known as just "the Infoshop". The Infoshop birthday party was accompanied by an exhibit by the radical womens' art group "Marie Antoinette's Severed Head" on the crisis and social uprisings. -- The Infoshop is a collectively run space with an anarchist bookshop, library and meeting space. It is used by a number of groups including Union of Syndicalists, Praska Anarchist Group, Freedom Equality and Solidarity. Warsaw Vegans, Free Konopi, Praga Bicyclists, KFP union, Anarchist Solidarity and occasionally by a local house cooperative. The (sporadically updated) Infoshop page, with film announcements, a few book reviews and long and short list of publications in the library: www.infoszop.bzzz.net

Address of the Infoshop:
Targowa 22 lokal 27a
03-731 Warsaw Read more!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Strike Bulletin #8

Issue 8 of the bulletin is out now.
Information about recent campaigns, problems of seasonal workers, effects of the crisis.

To receive a copy, write to:

The bulletin is available in PDF or paper form. Read more!

Friday 13 March 2009

Action at Groenflex in Opole

Today about 25-30 people took part in the occupation of the office of Groen Flex work
agency in Opole, Poland. The activists, demanded to talk to the boss and would not leave until he appeared. In the meanwhile, the office was closed for business. The boss man later showed up but only wanted to speak in private with one person. People refused and instead the whole discussion was filmed by TV crews. The guy was claiming all sort of contractatory things but also said that as soon as they get the hospital bill they will pay it. But at the same time he was saying it didn't depend on him, but on the Eurocontract people in Holland since the Polish registered entity was not the employer, only the Dutch one.

Eventually people left but promised that they would be back with a larger group of people if the demands were not met.

On the same day, members of AGA (Anarchist Group of Amsterdam) visited the workers' hotel where Groen Flex employees live, the shipyards where the accident took place and the office of Groen Flex. These actions were extremely helpful in getting contacts with some people, including a witness and another person who has a case against Groen Flex. AGA also helped in many ways prior to this action, including getting the labour inspectors on this case. (PS - The company didn't tell the inspectors the truth, but surely the truth will come out.) Everybody thanks them for their help and solidarity.

The action in Opole was organized by ZSP and IP Czestochowa. People from Anarchist
Federation, some other IP and Fabryka in Opole also took part.

Some photos of the action are here:
http://cia.bzzz.net/opole_akcja_w_biurach_groen_flex_prezes_zobowiazal_sie_zaplacic_2000_euro Read more!

Thursday 12 March 2009

No to NATO

On March 12, ZSP members organized a picket at the events commemorating the anniversary of Poland's entry into NATO. These events, held at Warsaw University, included a "NATO village", a display of military hardware and the First Transatlantic Forum, attended by many international politicians. Read more!

Monday 9 March 2009

March 8 demo in Warsaw

100 years after the first National Women's Day celebration in the USA in Feb. 1909, feminist demonstrations were held all over Poland to commemorate International Women's Day. In Warsaw the demonstration, known as "Manifa", was attended by around 6000 people. The "theme" of this 10th annual Manifa could more or less be translated as "every government is the same old story".

This year the Manifa concentrated on a number of issues including poor access to health care, lack of support for families, poor working conditions of women and church intervention in daily life. Other slogans for this year's Manifa included "the Bishop is not God" and "we want health care, not prayer".

Anarchists from ZSP (Union of Syndicalists) and WRS (Freedom, Equality and Solidarity), along with some individuals from other groups and non-alligned people took part in the radical blok with slogans such as "Neither Patriarchy of Capitalism", "No God, No Masters" and "Fuck the Patriarchy".
The demo was, as usual, picketed by right-wing goons from ONR (National-Radical Camp), All-Polish Youth and the Falange, complete with police-like uniforms and red and black flags.

Belows is a copy of a leaflet.

Leaflet (addressed mostly to liberal feminists and participants of the march):

All Governments are the Same Scam! All Authority Interferes with our Lives!

The fact that each government acts against the best interests of ordinary people is evident. Still, despite this, come every election, some call on the people to elect a different set of politicians, hoping that things will get better. And they don't.

Proponents of single issues sometimes call on us to vote if they believe that the politicians of their choice will, improve matters in one area or another. However even if they do, those in power give the people only crumbs. The main problems remain - mass poverty inflicted by greed, made worse by antisocial politics and the lack of any possibility to decide on the issues.

Government does not give people rights - government takes them away. Problems that women have with, for example, reproductive rights are the direct result of a bunch of politicians deciding what people should and should not do. The problems we all have with too little money spent on things like health care and education is the problem of not being able to directly control what we as a society spend money on.

Instead of being governed, we want to be active participants in social life. Instead of a world divided into better and worse categories of people, we want to all be equal, to all be respected and have rights.

Equality for us is not only equality between the sexes, but economic equality. Without it, there is not equality.

8 of March is a day of working women's struggle, it's origins commemorating the memory of female workers and activists; we do not accept attempts to water down the meaning of the day, a day which has its roots in the social struggle. The time has come to reject the bankruptcy of a women's movement laden with single-issue solidarity.

The changes we want do not come through a ballot box, but through mass organization and action from below.

Let's dare to fulfill our dreams and enjoy the sweet taste of freedom without god or master, without exploitation or the state.
Read more!

Monday 2 March 2009


Last month we were informed of the case of a Polish worker who had major troubles with his employer, a temporary work agency called EUROCONTRACT, and the Polish firm Groenflex. Michalek was sent to work in Holland by Groenflex a work agency in Opole in December. He was supposed to be picking vegetables and had a contract for 78 weeks.

The contract he signed in Poland was only a preliminary one; when in Holland he had to sign a different one, with the firm EUROCONTRACT. Instead of working picking vegetables, Michalek was sent to work in a shipyard, without any special training. In a few days, he was sent to clean chemicals without protective clothing. He lost consciousness and was rushed to the cardiology department of the hospital.

Instead of taking any care of their employee, EUROCONTRACT simply terminated the contract with Michalek. He returned home to Poland. Then he found out that he owed the hospital almost 3000 euros.

In the past month, we have been investigating the situation and have made contact with others who have been misled, abused or had their rights violated by EUROCONTRACT/GROEN FLEX. Such abuse most probably concerns hundreds of workers; there are already dozens of documented complaints against the firm. Some workers have contacted the prosecutors office or tried to start lawsuits in Poland but found that Groen Flex was not a party to the employment contract and a case would have to be lodged in the Netherlands.

Our Preliminary Findings

1. The relation between Groenflex and Eurocontract is unclear and many workers are unclear who their employer is. Many employees believe this is the exact same company. In Holland they maintain a joint website. http://www.groenflex.nl The system of recruitment through Groenflex is misleading.

2. The preliminary contact is misleading for most employees.

3. Promises made in Opole concerning work duties, location of employment, living quarters, work hours and wages are often not kept in Holland.

4. Workers are carted to different worksites. Often they are not informed and do not know the name of the end-user emplyer.

5. Eurocontract and Groenflex has ignored some of their employees in cases where the end-user employer has endagered the health and safety of the employees.

6. Eurocontract has broken and terminated contracts with no reason, notice or compensation.

7. Eurocontract has failed on numerous occasions to ensure that end-user employers provide proper health and safety training and equipment.

8. Workers have complained that both companies have misinformed them, misled them or not properly informed them of their rights.

9. Both companies have failed to respond to employee complaints and concerns.

10. Workers have poor legal recourse when they are abused; they must bring their cases in Holland which dissuades most from taking legal action.

11. Workers are often not provided with full-time work, although they are promised this in Poland and often have days without any work.

12. Workers are housed in a living quarters which inspired many complaints including weekly controls, curfews and searching personal items in the Wateringen hotel and having the cost of meals automatically deducted from wages regardless of whether you want them or not.

13. Some people who signed contracts for several months of work were sent home early because there was no work for them. There have been people who have gone to Holland, stayed a week without work and then been told to go home. They were not given compensation.

14. There have been reports of people sent to Holland even without a preliminary agreement, which is against the law.

15. Reports of late payments, especially of first payments, 2-3 months late.

Our Demands

1. Cooperation of Groenflex and Eurocontract in the case of Michalek for obtaining compensation for his hospital bill and all compensation he is seeking from the end-user employer and employer.

2. Ensuring that all workers receive proper health and safety training, equipment and care from their end-user employers.

3. Providing perspective employees with the final contract to be signed in Poland, not Holland. The contract should be signed with the Polish legal entity, not the Dutch one.

4. The job description should be clearly stated in the contract. Workers should be compensated should this work not be available.

5. Contracts should not be terminated early without reason. Failure to provide employment should be treated as breach of contract on the part of the employer and should require compensation to the employee.

6. All payments should be made on time, to the bank of the employees choice or in cash. Employees should not be forced to open accounts in a specific bank.

7. All employees should be informed of the name of the end-user employer where they are working.

8. In the case of industrial accident or other unfortunate circumstances, the agency should help the worker obtain compensation from the end-user employer.

9. The agency should make sure that employee insurance has started before their first day on the job. Employees should receive evidence of being insured from the agency when insurance payments are deducted from their wages.

10. The agency in Opole must stop misleading potential employees by making false promises or misrepresenting the work to be performed or other aspects of the employment.

The attitude of Groen Flex is abhorrable; when Michalek contacted them about his problems he was treated rudely and summarily told to "go to court". Eurocontract may expect legal problems - such disregard is not acceptable. In addition, we will do everything we can now to inform potential employees about your unfair and illegal practices, to dissuade them from using your agencies and to encourage current or former employees to organize themselves against this abuse. You can expect trouble from us. Although we know we are not able to match Eurocontract or Groenflex in the amount of damage done to wreck people's lives, we will try to give them the fight you deserve, They think they are untouchable, but they can be touched, pushed and even wrecked.

ZSP, Union of Syndicalists

Read more!