Sunday 28 February 2010

Warsaw: Picket at Greenway

27 February ZSP held a picket in front of the busiest Green Way restaurant in Warsaw as part of boycott called against the restaurant. First people gave information about workers' rights and organization and about the problems in Greenway that led to the boycott. Then there was a picket outside this busy restaurant. The manager was upset about it and called to the director of the company to explain that their was a protest there. Although he claimed that there were no violations in his bar, it later turned out that workers there, as probably in most Green Way restaurants, are also not given statutory overtime payments.
The director of the company explained that unpaid work should not happen again in Green Way, but there is no information about how this is going to be stopped or about when people will receive their money for the time they worked for free. In addition, he claimed that the problem in Wroclaw was resolved, although we know that people haven't been paid.

We told the manager that the firm should aim to guarantee compliance with the labour law and good working conditions at the restaurants and that we will continue to make pressure on them until we know that things have really changed.

We also encouraged workers to organize themselves throughout the chain. There is already some interest, but such campaigns have not existed in this sector until now. Criticism about precarious work conditions and McJobs are not well known, the traditional labour movement does not really deal with this and there is no history of workers' self organization in these types of jobs. Still, this Green Way case has already brought the issue of unpaid trial periods to thousands of people who might not have known about it otherwise. Read more!

Friday 26 February 2010

Warsaw: Solidarity with the Belgrade 6!

In Warsaw there were two solidarity actions for the Belgrade six in recent days: on February 16 there was a picket at the Serbian Embassy and February 25 there was a demonstration organized by ZSP and WRS as part of the International Solidarity Day called for by ASI.

The demonstration, although only about 30 people, was very visible and went a couple of hours through Warsaw, stopping at many places for speeches. The police did not manage to stop the demonstration, even after it blocked an important intersection. Besides words of solidarity for the Belgrade Six, there were lots of good anti-state and anti-capitalist slogans, and everytime the demo passed some objectionable place (like Starbucks), there were some additional slogans and speeches.

The demo attracted a lot of attention and curiosity and many leaflets about the case were handed out. Some of the people had heard about it before. Read more!

Monday 22 February 2010

Delegation in Berlin

A small delegation went to Berlin to show solidarity with FAU in their struggle against the state and the bosses at Kino Babylon Mitte.

A few hundred people marched during the award ceremonies at the Berlin Film Festival Berlinale. Speeches were made about the freedom to organize and people vowed to continue the struggle to ensure FAU's right to exist and take action as a union.

On the sign: "Only pigs sit in the cinema - Boycott Kino Babylon". The slogan about pigs is famous in Poland and refers to the boycott of nazi-run cinemas in occupied Poland.

Read more!

Friday 19 February 2010

Head of City Council Greets Tenants

For the first time in approximately 10 months protesting at the City Council, the head of the council handed over her duties to another person to meet with a group of tenants and members of the Tenants' Defense Committee. Of course we were not too impressed by the gesture. Either she got worn down from the protests or her party finally decided that they must try to deal with the problem following announcement of the motion to dismiss the Mayor.

The head of the City Council also faced such a motion a few months ago but was not recalled from her duties since the leftists are in a coalition with the neo-liberals in Warsaw.

Read more!

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Belgrade Six Released

There is news that six comrades arrested in Belgrade have been released. The trial will continue. Maybe the charges will be changed.

Some small action was made in Warsaw before trial and 25 February ZSP Warsaw takes part in international day of action. Read more!

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Boycott Greenway

ZSP received the mail from the main shareholder of GreenWay corporation saying he is sorry about problems but with no committment to do anything and pretending this is isolated incident. ZSP is announcing that it is starting a boycott if GreenWay doesn't take concrete steps immediately. Wroclaw comrades made a picket during which a former employee confronted the boss about being cheated and the boss claimed she never even worked there. This shows disgusting attitude of capitalist exploiters. 

Special material will be prepared for actions around Poland. Read more!

Monday 15 February 2010

Tenants Take Over City Meeting

Members of the Tenants' Defense Committee and residents of three apartment blocks fighting with local politicians and a corrupt housing administration found out about a meeting of a committee which was to be dedicated to their case. The meeting was scheduled just before the council session in downtown Warsaw. So about 40 people showed up and demanded that the council deal with their problems immediately.  Fearing possible action by the tenants, the politicians changed the agenda of the council session and the situation of the tenants was discussed for hours.

Although the behaviour of the head of the housing administration and some politicians ranged from scandalous lies to pretending not to be able to do anything, others were sympathic. A member of Parliament came to argue on behalf of the tenants. A few concrete demands were met, but others not yet; tenants are waiting on some studies and decisions.

As a result of these protests, some politicians have called for the dismissal of both the head of the housing authority and the Mayor. A vote to recall the Mayor will be held at the next council session but it is not likely to pass. Still, a clear message was sent that people cannot be treated like trash by the administration.

Read more!

Sunday 14 February 2010

Another Informational Action - for Free and Libertarian Education

Once again there was an informational action for free education, this time near Warsaw University. Since most students in near the university were weekend students, who have to pay for studies and often come from less priveleged backgrounds than day-time students who study for free, there was lots of interest and support for at least the idea of free studies.
ZSP Education will hold a lecture on the Bologna Process at Warsaw University on March 11. On this day there will be ministerial meetings commemorating ten years of the Process, accompanied by demonstrations in Budapest and Vienna.

Read more!

Thursday 11 February 2010

GreenWay Vegetarian Restaurant Doesn't Pay Workers

ZSP is putting an ultimatum to the owners of GreenWay restaurants: stop exploiting workers or we will start a boycott.

In 2005, there was the first information about problems in the GreenWay restaurant in Łódź. In 2007, information on the subject was published on the portal CIA. Former employees pointed out that people were often hired on unpaid "trial periods". Such unpaid trial periods are illegal, but that doesn't stop sleazy employers from deceiving workers.

As it turned out, a worker in Poznan had similar experiences and spoke of how workers were required to do two free 13-hour shifts. Besides the free labour, in both cases, working conditions were abyssmal.

We campaigned about this issue and had hoped that things would be better. Unfortunately, the pattern is repeating, with new reports from Olsztyn and Wroclaw.

Read more!

Saturday 6 February 2010

Informational action at Warsaw University

Members of ZSP educational section made an informational action at Warsaw University. Leaflets were given out with information about the Bologna Process and against paid studies. There were also leaflets about the doctoral students protest in Wroclaw and booklets informing students about their rights at work. Since this action was made for weekend students, most of them work and students have many problems with working conditions.

There is such an action every week in Warsaw. Read more!