Thursday 19 April 2012

Solidarity with the Workers of Huta Batory! Action at Alchemia Shareholders Meeting

On April 13, Alchemia company, which last week fired striking workers from Huta Batory ironworks in Chorzow, held an extraordinary shareholders meeting at its headquarters in Warsaw. ZSP went to protest the firing of the workers, the use of temp agencies to replace permanent jobs in the ironworks and Alchemia's plans to do this in other workplaces and to protest Alchemia's plans to liquidate the ironworks.

The workers in Huta Batory started a wildcat strike on April 2, which the owners of the ironworks, Alchemia, tried to violently repress. This attempt to break the strike did not work thanks to the solidarity of many local people. The company then decided to fire about 120 workers, lockout the rest and announce that they would liquidate the ironworks.

Members of the ZSP in Silesia participated in the local defense and support of the strikers and subsequent protests at the offices of the ironworks. In Warsaw there was also an earlier protest at Alchemia, the company that owns Huta Batory.

Arriving early to the shareholders meeting, the comrades held a banner reading "Strikes are our best weapon". Slogans were written on the flipchart and protests were handed out. The comrades explained that we support the workers in their struggle and vehemently condemn the actions of Alchemia.

While this succeeded in stopping the commencement of the meeting, it was clear that the decision was already made and this was just going to be a meeting of power of attorneys putting signatures for formal reasons. The only topic on the agenda was to repeal an earlier decision concerning Huta Batory, probably with a view to liquidating its assets. The Director of the company published information on the value of the assets later in the day.

We later made an informational action in the street in front of the headquarters.

The fate of the ironworks may be taken up by the TriPartite Commission of the government. Workers and unions at the ironworks claim that the company had been breaking many agreements and did many things to provoke the strike. The unions are claiming that the company actually wanted the strike to happen because they wanted to fire workers anyway and this way they could fire them for disciplinary reasons (illegal strike) and thus avoid the more expensive group redunancy procedures.

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