Monday 11 July 2011

In Defense of Free Speech and Tenants' Rights

Today the lawsuit against the Tenants' Defense Committee started. A couple of members of ZSP who are also in the Committee are being sued for making a film where tenants describe their problems with their landlady.

A small picket was held outside the court. The corridors were filled with tenants and journalists who filmed the people, who were all telling stories of their difficult and even desperate living situation. There was no place at all in the courtroom and the judge was a little consternated when a group of elderly women just decided to sit on the floor of the courtroom. The landlady was not present, but was represented by her lawyer, who had been involved in a very famous case related to slander on TV in the past. The TV stations were denied permission to film and some people wanted to speak out to the judge. After some minutes, things calmed down and the Committee, which was defending itself, submitted its arguments to the court, as well as evidence. The documents submitted were mostly related to what was said in the film. Among other things, the landlady claims that the tenant is not telling the truth, but most of what was said can be confirmed in one way or another.
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Actions in Mass Transport

On July 9, ZSP members started to make actions in Warsaw´s public transport against the raising of fares. Leaflets are being handed out calling for action, information is stuck in the transport. ZSP supports free and collectivized transportation as a goal but, besides from propagating such ideas, it would like to encourage people to mobilize against the fare increases in an active way. This includes  protests and different types of direct actions such as not paying, mutual insurance schemes against ticket controls and, for those who do have a ticket, the passing of tickets to other passengers. We have noticed that people have actually started to practice the last one a little more recently.

We do not agree with the fare increase which hits the working poor the most and will make Warsaw´s public transport more expensive than in many cities in Europe. Besides this, we will continue to point out the various labour problems which exist, especially for bus drivers who are often forced to work too much for miserable pay, impacting on their health and safety and the safety of the passengers as well. Read more!

OTTO Actions Bring Results

The OTTO campaign is still going on. In Wroclaw a couple of women were able to get their full salary by standing up to the company. They were contracted to work in the Wago Elwag factory, which produces electonic components. When they received their first pay check, they noticed it was short.  During a protest in Wroclaw, a manager from OTTO came to speak to ZSP and claimed this was because workers were only paid for production, however the contract was not for piece work, but a regular hourly wage. Confronted with the evidence and the ongoing campaign, they had to pay.

Again this shows that if you are being cheated, it is best to take direct action and fight back! It is also much better to organize yourself BEFORE you are cheated! We have been trying to speak to the rest of the workers in Wago Elwag about this situation. Read more!

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Lawsuit is the Latest Tactic of Attempted Intimidation in Struggle for Tenants' Rights

Some members of the ZSP from Warsaw are being sued for a film they made and put on the internet. Other members of the Tenants' Defense Committee are also being sued because the film was on their website. The video documents the problems of two families who have been having problems with their landlady, who wants to evict them, for years.

The video was intended to give tenants a voice in a system which is extremely one-sided, ignoring their rights and not even ensuring they are protected by the rights they have under the law.
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Friday 1 July 2011

Protest against Price Increases

On July 1, near the stage of the city's gala concert to mark Poland's taking over the EU presidency, we held a protest against the price increases adopted by the city. The price of public transport is going up an average of 70%, day care almost 600%, water and sewage 30%. In addition, the city plans the privatization of the company that provides heat.

ZSP is campaigning against the increases and calls for direct action, including not paying transport fares and organizing alternative day care instead of paying the outrageous prices. ZSP also calls for transport to come under control of the workers and community. Signatures were  gathered at the protest for a referendum which would overturn these decisions and block the privatization.

In general the public was supportive and people stopped to talk, despite the terrible weather. More actions are planned over the next month, including actions in public transport.

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