Friday 2 March 2012

Unions Stage Farce Protest against Pension Reforms

In general, we do not support the way the mainstream unions are organized or how they negotiate away workers' rights to the government. Recently, unions announced that "they would fight" against government plans to raise the retirement age to 67.

Here we have somewhat of a common cause, so we went to the protest at the Parliament while the government was discussing it and an alternative proposal, a "civil draft bill" submitted by one of the mainstream unions which would allow people to retire after 35 or 40 years of work.

Quite unfortunately, we found that the mainstream unions are still in their usual modus operandi. Instead of holding strikes or mass protests of rank and file workers, the 3 main union centrals in Poland - with a combined membership of well over 2 million people - mobilized their professional trade union reps and functionaries for a 300 person demo. This means that the strongest union organizations in the country put fewer people in the street than we will on March 31 and May 1, against one of the most important changes for workers. We can only guess the reasons for this, but one thing is clear: this is not a real fight.