Saturday 21 January 2012

Action at Roche Poland

On January 20 we organized a picket and informational action at the headquarters of  Roche in Warsaw. The protest was related to the firing of our colleague and also to the firms "employment" practices in general. Roche does not want to hire workers on normal, indefinite working contracts and uses many fictitiously self-employed people in its offices here in Poland. These people are not protected by the labour code in any way, they have to make their own social security payments, do not get paid vacation or sick leave, maternity or paternity leave, are not covered by statutory regulations concerning dismissal.

The Polish labour code clearly identifies what constitutes employment in a company and this is regardless of what kind of contract the company concludes with the worker. There is a very high incidence of avoidance of employment contracts in Poland, using incorrect types of contracts such as contracts for specific work or forcing workers to establish their own companies. The ZSP has been campaigning against the improper use of "trash contracts" for some time and now we are also trying to raise awareness of the problems related to fictitious self-employment.

When workers sign civil contracts instead of employment contracts, they may be dismissed easily and without reason and their liability in case of damages is not limited in the same way. Roche dismissed our colleague and tries to deny the existence of a long-term employment relationship with him; we are campaigning for his reinstatement and the legal recognition of his employment status, with all benefits which were due to him.

Furthermore, it was the feeling of the worker and our union that the dismissal may have really been related to his activism as the company was satisfied with his work and even offered to regulate his employment status. This was in the process when the worker was dismissed.

We will continue with the campaign and hope that it will help other workers with similar problems.