Monday 13 April 2009

Remembering the Death in Vobro and Attack by Vobro Goon

This week is the one year anniversary of the death of 20-year old Krysztof in the Vobro factory in Brodnica. There was a big cover-up of his death and a lot of sleazy facts came out. The brother of the person responsible for health and safety in the factory works in the State Labour Inspectorate and was the person who inspected the factory for health and safety violations after the death of Pruszewicz. The police did not conduct a proper investigation, not even making a list of people working on the evening of the accident and it turned out the owner of the factory had all the right connections. And worker representation - which is required by the law on works councils which states that the workers have at least a council in any workplace with over 50 people? It turns out that the wife of the factory owner got this job.

After lots of independent investigation, including from the mainstream media who picked up on this case, the matter went out of the hands of the local inspectors and was sent to Szczecin. Since then, they have uncovered numerous other violations, including forced overtime work and not giving people days off. This included forced overtime work for handicapped people.

On April 12, some members of ZSP were in Brodnica and wanted to remind people of the case. Besides this, there were some posters - one of them was simply with photos of Pruszewicz, date of birth and death, his name and "in memory", others about work conditions in Vobro and a copy of the certificate awarded to the boss, who won the "Worst Employer of 2008" contest.

The first problems were at the factory, and although nobody had ever seen police arrive anywhere so fast, everybody was able to walk away. A hour later, two members of ZSP, myself and one comrade, were at the bus station ready to leave town. I was some distance ahead when I saw the comrade being accosted by some goon from Vobro. When I went there, the goon started to push me with great force - I am surprised I didn't end up like Tomlinson. An altercation followed, despite attempts to get the goon to leave us alone and to de-escalate the situation. The Vobro goon, who was a bit crazy and (literally) foaming at the mouth, was afraid of the male comrade and decided to do most of the pushing, arm twisting, etc. on me. This was at the bus station, about 100 meters away from the police who were alerted and coming. Security arrived with the posters of Pruszewicz they had torn down from the city - apparently they could not stand the image of the dead worker hanging even anywhere in the town.

Bearing in mind how relations with police and the town's rich and influential generally look, we were careful not to fight with these people, who already were talking insane bullshit about us attacking him, that I grabbed the goon and ripped his Vobro jacket - although this wasn't true and his jacket wasn't ripped. We wound up in the police station and the goon was stalking outside. Of course the police weren't interested in whether or not we were attacked by the goon and we were fined for "illegal dissemination of leaflets".

The Vobro goons finally stopped stalking us, probably realizing what the outcome of their actions could be. They didn't manage to remove all the poster and other people will return there this week to remind people of this accident.

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