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A little satisfaction for some (now former) PoloMarket employees. Workers from ZSP have been protesting against practices at the market and demanded compensation for unpaid overtime, among other things. As the company did not want to settle with the workers outside of court, the union brought multiple suits against the supermarket chain. The chain, in the meanwhile, has responded with various attempts to bring criminal cases against members of the union.

On September 28, the case of two former workers was in court in Bydgoszcz. The company that did not want to settle claims with the workers changed their tune after evidence was submitted to the court from the Prosecutor that confirmed that there were forged signatures under the evidence of working hours.

The workers were satisfied and now the union waits for next week, when more workers will have their cases heard.

Despite this, the chain still maintains that everything was "normal" at the markets and refuse to settle claims of some other workers. Therefore, the union will not rest and more actions are planned.

Congratulations to those who didn't give up, despite the adversity from their former employer/exploiter.

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After Solidarity signed a measely pay increase for Post Office workers and defended the use of unpaid overtime, the union has come in for harsh criticism for its collaboration.

Over the past couple of years, postal workers from around Poland have been expressing their demands for better working conditions and have been doing so outside of the main unions at the Post Office. Workers see that these unions work more to defend the interests of the employer than the workers. Last year, a series of actions, including work stoppages were held, organized by the workers themselves, outside of the unions. At first, these were mostly actions of mail carriers, but later, other categories of workers also joined in.

Some members of ZSP working at the Post Office engaged in contacting the different groups of workers and together organized a national coordination to put forward demands agreed by workers themselves – not by union bureaucrats with zero accountability to the workforce. In the first of three national meetings, workers set out a list of demands, including a raise, with basic pay to rise to 3200 zloties, payment for overtime work and reorganization of the regions. (Currently, some workers have to cover much more ground than other and the assignment of good or bad regions are often the result of favouritism or used as some form of keeping people in line.) In March, workers organized a series of protests on the same day in 23 cities throughout Poland and then at the beginning of April, a demonstration in Warsaw in which more than 2000 workers participated, making it the largest workers action outside the mainstream unions since the transformation.

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On this May 1, comrades from ZSP in Wroclaw co-organized an anarchist May Day, together with the local Anarchist Federation. The demonstration started at the former May 1 Sq., under the Monument to Struggle and Victory. Several comrades spoke about the history of May Day and the current situation facing workers and society in general in light of growing right-wing domination before the march set off through the city. Accompanied by a samba band and music such as the Warszawianka, frequent stops were made. Comrades spoke about the situation of temporary workers, immigrant workers and the recent mobilizations at the Post Office. Demonstrators chanted slogans against nationalism, the government, capitalism and exploitation. After the demo, an open meeting of ZSP was held.

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The ZSP Wroclaw co-organized a series of events during the May Day weekend. Different talks were organized during the two days before May Day and members of our organization presented different topics and took part in panels. Among the topics were Anarchosyndicalism and social democracy, Power, Ideology and Structure and a panel. An open meeting with ZSP also took place on May Day, after the demonstration.

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May 2 was advertised as a national day of protest of supermarket workers. With much noise, mainstream unions, in particular Solidarity, announced that strikes and protests would happen in supermarkets around Poland. Some other unions announced that they would also protest. ZSP, which is currently fighting for improved conditions and compensation for workers in PoloMarket, decided to also protest on this day.

Unfortunately, despite the announced day of protest, supermarkets were open for business as usual, with only a few slow downs at some cash registers. Instead of protests in front of the markets, only a few union professionals appeared to speak to the press about the „protests”. Due to this fact, some media outlets decided to report on the Polomarket protests, where they could actually speak to working people.

The union protested at three locations in Bydgoszcz, demanding a resolution to the conflict and satisfaction of the workers' claims. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out during the day and some clients expressed support of the protesters. Some decided to do their shopping elsewhere.

More protests are already scheduled in May in a few cities throughout Poland. The union has decided to organize these on the national level, due to the fact that the market has failed to negotiate with workers and continue to press on with a criminal case against one of our activists. The chain of supermarkets is being protested due to various violations of workers rights such as irregularities concerning overtime and lack of breaks in some departments. Another situation where a worker was unfairly dismissed has already been settled by the company.

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On April 26, members of ZSP picketed at the Festival of Educational Innovation in Gdansk, organized by the JMP Foundation. The union has conducted a number of actions against JMP and its founder, Magdalena Majorczyk after a number of workers informed of wage theft practices. Although we were eventually able to get payment last year, other workers contact us about problems with getting paid. Due to the fact that these problems continue, so will the protests.

The event was attended by a few stars and hundreds of school children, whose schools organized outings. After discussions with some teachers who alleged that they were forced to collect money from students and take them to this event, we really wonder what this is all about and how these people fund such grand events but cannot seem to pay people for their labor.

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Following the national protest of postal workers in Warsaw on April 8, a national meeting was held the following week in Lodz to formalize the network and adopt a libertarian form of organization, based on our principles of direct democracy, leaderless unions and mandated and recallable delegates.

The meeting was the third national gathering, after the ones in Wroclaw and Warsaw which prepared the demands to the Post Office, the decentralized actions in March and the demonstration in April.

The postal workers would like to push forward their postulates and continue organizing outside the mainstream unions which have continually sidetracked the workers to pact with the bosses. The Post Office does not want to talk about these postulates, relying on the bigger unions not to protest. Instead the PO has stepped up PR about how important it is to improve working conditions, but always claiming they „cannot afford it”. The workers know better and will not back down.

Demands were also sent to the Ministry responsible for the Post Office as well as the government. They have sent them on for discussion but still have made no attempts to talk to the dissatisfied workers.

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The situation with Polomarket is growing more tense as the market continues attempts to criminalize workers and has not negotiated with them as promised. Following a visit to their headquarters and a settlement with an unfairly dismissed worker, the chain had promised to speak to other workers about their demands. Unfortunately, these assurances turned out to be hollow. Instead of talking and trying to resolve the conflict, the market continues to send spies after workers, in a vain attempt to harrass and intimidate those protesting. What's more is that they are proceeding with a criminal case against one of the former workers, acting as if they were the victims in the whole matter.

At the end of April, a protest took part in Gdansk at a local Polomarket. At the beginning of May, three supermarkets were protested in Bydgoszcz. Actions are planned to continue as long as the chain maintains their current behaviour.

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On April 19, Rafal appeared at the Regional Court in Bydgoszcz to defend himself against a „criminal” case brought against him by Polomarket. The supermarket chain is trying to make complaints about their practices in relation to workers go away by attempting to intimidate those who speak out. Rafal actually faces a prison sentence for exposing practices such as not giving breaks to workers, forcing them to work overtime or forcing them to transport goods in their own cars after hours – despite the fact that many of these practices have been either documented or confirmed by the Labor Inspectorate.

Thanks to solidarity shown with Rafal, we were able to provide good legal defense for him. As it turned out, the defense was so good that the lawyers for Polomarket were not prepared and asked the case to be postponed. The Court gave them a few weeks. In the meanwhile, the market, which has not settled claims made to them by the union, tries to find more „evidence” against Rafal by stalking methods, sending two spies out to film protests, harrassing and trying to intimidate anybody who speaks out.

In response, ZSP will step up the protests at the chain.

Enough Repression!
Solidarity is our Weapon!

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At the beginning of March, members of the ZSP union of PoloMarket workers appeared at the headquarters of the supermarket chain in Giębnia to demand to be heard, especially concerning the case of Jola, who was unfairly dismissed. http://zsp.net.pl/action-polomarket-headquarters Following this, protests took place at several markets http://zsp.net.pl/protests-continue-polo-market-chain-declares-it-wants-.... Two days later, the company decided to settle the case to the satisfaction of the worker.

ZSP congratulates the workers for their success and wish them luck in their continued struggle.

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