Saturday 25 July 2009

Chinese Workers Going Home

After the picket at JW Construction, we saw off the Chinese workers. They cleared up the camp at the embassy after the work agencies came to some sort of an agreement. They will be leaving for China starting tomorrow and were moved to workers' hotels. They received tickets home and will receive some money for their labour- but it is not clear if they will receive the full amount. The workers wanted to even take that deal because they are tired of staying in Warsaw and are very nervous that they will get nothing. They were particularly upset the last few days since there thunderstorms in the city and really were quite fed up and just wanted to get home.
We asked some of the people what they would do when they got home. Many, if not most, were so fed up with their adventure that they said they would give up on construction work and go back to what they were doing before; for many of them that was farming.

We are hoping that everything will go OK for them and will try to follow up on this case.
Read more!

Leaflet from JW Construction Picket

Given out at the sales office:

Was Your Flat a Labour Camp?

Probably you always thought that slave labour, work without any basic safety equipment, leaving people without any money to live happens only in other far-away countries. Thanks to JW Construction, you can also find such things in Poland.

Do you know how JW Construction maintains record profits during the crisis?

A group of about 50 workers from China who worked building housing estates for JW Construction in Warsaw were not paid for their work. When the workers reminded the bosses of their rights, they were fired and the bosses applied to annul their visas and ordered them to leave Poland. They have been camping out in front of the Chinese Embassy, demanding the pay they are due.

JW Construction washes its hands of such matters, claiming that the work agencies, Polish firm V-Agra and a few Chinese firms like Heyley, are at fault. All of the agents blame each other, all claiming that it was somebody else who did not fulfill their obligations.

Something is not right gere.

In order to make higher profits, JW Construction started to hire temporary workers from China, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and other countries, counting on the fact that they would earn a lot less and that they would not know how to protect their rights. A complicated chain of agents means that the workers don't even know who owes them money. That's an ideal situation for dishonest employers who hope that they can get away with not paying their workers.

But they won't get away with it.

They won't get awat with if it people don't buy flats which were built in violation of safety regulations, if they won't buy from firms which don't care if the workers are paid or not, if they are insured or have proper equipment.

Nobody wants their dream home to be in a former labour camp.

We demand that JW Construction ensure that all workers recent a decent wage and safe working conditions. We demand that all workers that haven't been paid, be paid immediately.

No tolerance for slave labour!

Związek Syndykalistów Polski

Read more!

Picket at JW Construction

ZSP organized a picket at the JW Construction sales office at the Gorczewska Park housing estate. Chinese workers who were not paid and wound up camping in front of the Chinese embassy worked on this, as well as other housing estates built by JW Construction.

Members of several pro-worker groups joined in the picket.

During the picket, several times cars with potential customers drove up but then turned away.

The protestors pointed out that JW has recorded very high profits despite the recession. Since the company has gone public two years ago, it has been using almost exclusively foreign labour hired through employment agencies. Since technically they are not the employers of the workers, they try to avoid responsibility for what goes on at their construction sites: people not getting paid, lack of proper safety equipment, people working without insurance, people working without the proper safety training, people working overtime and without proper breaks, people working without proper food or drink. But we were there to remind them that they are responsible and to ask potential home buyers if they want to live in a former work camp.

ZSP activists promised to return to different sales offices and continue to put pressure on JW.

More photos
Read more!

Thursday 23 July 2009

On the Clashes in Warsaw

On July 21 there were rather serious clashes between a group of traders about to be evicted, their supporters and police and security guards. The events caused a lot of discussion amongst anarchists and leftists about, among other things, the class character of the trader.

Here are some thoughts on the subject and a little background on the situation. Read more!

Sunday 19 July 2009

Chinese Workers Face Deportation from Poland

About 50 Chinese workers are camped out in front of the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw. They did not receive any pay for three months, eventually went on strike and were fired.

The situation of the approx. 50 workers camped out in front of the Chinese Embassy is not unique. There are at least 400 others in a similar situation.

The workers were recruited in Eastern China to work in construction in Warsaw. This group of workers came from three agencies: Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Heyly Overseas Employment and an agent called Lin Baotang. They each borrowed money and paid about 1500 dollars to the agents and for airfare. They had 2 year contracts with their Chinese agents and were promised 700 euro plus room and board for 250 hours labour per month.

They were hired out to two shady companies, both with the same owners: Eko-Energia and V-Agra. It is clear that V-Agra was the real employer-user of the workers. The companies did not want to provide the workers with any local contracts.

V-Agra is a subcontracter for several real estate development firms. The workers were taken to different building sites to work on residential housing. From what we were able to establish, this work was not always done in safe conditions. The workers, who were transported to these sites, were not readily able to identify all the places they worked, but with some effort we managed to identify at least 2 housing estates they worked at.

They did not receive any money for 3 months and were living off food supplies they had brought from China. Finally, they went on strike. For that, the company V-Agra fired them.

We obtained a copy of their notice:

"In connection with a violation of work discipline, refusing to carry out work duties and organizing an illegal strike, as well as some workers taking up illegal work in Poland, and in connection with the companies Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Helly Overseas Employment and Lin Baotong failure to pay for the costs of the hotel and supply a return ticket to China, we inform you that as of June 18, that is the day that you did not appear at work, all obligations towards the employees of Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Helly Overseas Employment and Lin Baotong have ceased.

In connection with the above, we call on all the employees of Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Helly Overseas Employment and Lin Baotong to leave Poland by July 12, 2009.

We also inform you that from that day employees of Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Helly Overseas Employment and Lin Baotong have no right to lodging in the workers' hotel in Ursus or to stay in Poland.

In the event that you do not leave Poland by the above-mentioned date, we will inform the Border Guards, which will start your deportation procedure.

In all cases of payment, accomodation and return tickets, please contact your employers - that is Fujian Huamin Overseas Employment, Helly Overseas Employment and Lin Baotong - directly.

We inform you that our company has annulled all permission to work in Poland and Polish visas. Staying in Poland and working is illegal and will be punished according to Polish law.

We also inform you that leaving for another EU country will be considered illegally crossing the border and is subject to penalty.

Anna Chilkiewicz,
Chairperson of the Board"

Other Chinese workers who came to work in Warsaw had to pay much more to get here. A few months ago, some of the Chinese workers left Warsaw to try and find employment elsewhere in Poland. A group of workers were sent to the company Eurochin in Katowice were they were also used as slave labour, among other things, to build a Pentacostal church. (The owner of the work agency is a former pastor.) The owner of Eurochin did not pay them and, when they tried to talk to him about it, he called the police and got protection from the workers who were "threatening him". They wound up squatting a house in Myslowice. After an idiot journalist revealed the address of the house, the border police went their and took them into detention for deportation.

There are many Chinese workers now illegally living in Poland, looking for illegal work to survive and eventually get back to China. There they may face problems with debts. Apparently one of the Chinese workers who returned home was imprisoned for his debts.

The group in front of the embassy showed up over 3 weeks ago asking for help - but they got none. So some of them tried to find some work. A couple of days ago, they started to camp out in front of the embassy. They don't have tents and have made makeshift shelters from sticks, garbage bags and plastic.

Camping rough has been difficult; today one person felt faint and had to be hospitalized. The Red Cross came with some supplies, as did ZSP who prepared them some dinner. Some people from the neighbourhood stopped by with provisions.

Members of ZSP, who were able to communicate with the workers and find out some key details about their case, plan to give hell to V-Agra and the companies using these workers, as well as to the authorities who know that these things are happening but do nothing to make sure that these people have proper working conditions and are getting paid.

Read more!

Saturday 18 July 2009

Article on Works Councils

Here is an article on Works Councils by Comrade Akai: Read more!

Friday 17 July 2009

Eviction Stopped

On 15 July the Tenants' Defense Committee showed up to block an eviction. We learned about the situation of the tenants a few days ago. They live in flats owned by the fire department which are going to be renovated. The fire department tried to get rid of all tenants by cutting off heat in the winter and cutting off water. Only three people (in two flats) refused to leave.

The situation was very difficult. One woman is still employed at the fire department and is being mobbed at work where they were trying to force her to move from her 70 meter flat in the center, to a 7 meter "flat" outside Warsaw. What the fire department is doing is TOTALLY ILLEGAL.

After our intervention, the people were allowed back in their apartments. Read more!

Thursday 9 July 2009

Tenants' Protests at City Council and Praga Local Council

Tenants protested today at the City Council, helping totally disrupt the meeting which was protested by other social groups as well. Tenants brought baloons with the names of the council people who voted for rent increases. They flew around the room and some councilmen chased them and tried to take off their names. The meeting resulted in some small gains for the tenants. One of them is that people from reprivatized apartments can go to the front of the waiting lists. Currently they can only go on waiting lists for public housing after they have been evicted, and then they are at the end.

In Praga, local politicians made an emergency session to address tenants. It was made especially due to the activity of the Tenants' Defence Committee, which some members of ZSP participate in. The councilpeople voted on making special reductions on rent for people in the district - but it lost by two votes when the leftists from SLD voted against, telling the tenants, literally, to "fuck off". Read more!

Thursday 2 July 2009

New Bulletin

Issue 10 of the bulletin is available: Read more!