Sunday 26 June 2011

Campaign Against Price Increases

Last month the ZSP protested against price increases at the City Council. Despite hours of controversial debate, the neoliberal majority had already decided to do what they had done in many cities throughout Poland: raise the prices of different public services in a way that average working people would have to bear more costs.

The price raises are quite significant: public transport costs on average 70% higher (with some tickets raised even more), water and sewage 30% higher and, worst of all, the price of public nursery schools raised almost 600% for most people. It is true that the prices for the nursery schools will be lower for people earning minimum wage, but the highest rates are already imposed on anybody making just 60% of the average wage and will cost almost 300 euros a month (!!!) This is completely unaffordable and will hit working class mothers, especially single mothers the most. It is simply impossible for the average working mother to afford this price!

There is now an initiative to overturn these decisions by public referendum. In addition, ZSP calls for direct action to combat these measures. There are lots of ways that people can form child care cooperatives instead of using these commercialized "public" services. However the state makes all sorts of legal requirements about child care, so this has to exist completely unofficially, entirely through informal social networks. ZSP also will make some actions and encourage people not to pay the increased ticket prices on public transport, if the decision is not overturned in time. There are ways which we can defend each other against ticket controls - the key is in collective action.

The Warsaw ZSP has initiated a campaign which aims to promote direct collective action in such situations and to promote such ideas as free public transport, collectivized services and alternatives to the state education and commercialized child care industry.

Activists are currently roaming the neighbourhoods, handing out leaflets. People are encouraged to try to formally overturn the city's decision but also to get active and fight back! A protest will be held next week and people are sending protest emails to the city authorities.

The transport prices will be raised in August and before then we will start making some actions in the public transport.