On 20th of December, about 120 activists from Workers’ Initiative (WI) and others organisations participated in solidarity actions with supermarket employees. They circulated several thousand of leaflets. Action caught attention of TV, radio and press that spread information about breaking workers' and unions' rights. Almost all of customers was interested in action and tried to ask for details. Many times they give sign of solidarity with supermarket employees. (See photos)
In Poznań, Warsaw and Zielona Góra Workers' Initiative and other organisations held demonstrations in front of Alma supermarkets.
In Zielona Góra, where Piotr Krzyżaniak was dismissed, they handed out several hundreds of leaflets. Some participants circulated leaflets among employees and customers inside of shop. They put them into the baskets and hung posters on the shelves. After this activists shouted slogans in front of tills with banners in hands. Police collected ID-ed all participants. Piotr Krzyżaniak (activist of WI) was a worker of Alma, before he got unlawful notice. Main reason was boss's resistance against section of WI in Alma Deli coming into being. See more: Another dismissal of the Workers Initiative member
In Stary Browar, the most known shopping centre in Poznan, in front of Alma Deli a dozen of activists declaimed slogans. They had transparent: „People over profits”. and circulated ca. 1000 leaflets. Security - without success - tried to interfere in action. Police, called by manager of Stary Browar, took personal details. Nobody was arrested.
In Stary Browar, the most known shopping centre in Poznań, in front of Alma Deli a dozen of activists shouted slogans. They held a banner: „First people, then profits”. and circulated c.a. 1000 leaflets. Security - without success - tried to interfere in the action. Police, called by the manager of Stary Browar, ID-ed the activists. Nobody was arrested. Here and also in Lublin mass media were interested in action.
In some cities actions in front of Tesco took place. For example in Toruń chief of security tried to break the action away and gave invitation to confront the manager in his office. Activists wanted to speak only in presence of media. That\s why dialogue turned out to be impossible. In Tesco in Katowice protesters talked about workers' exploitation, breaking labour and social laws eg. not paying for overtime, breaking safety rules. In both cities and also in Lublin customers got several hundred of leaflets containing information about employees' situation in supermarkets.
See more about Tesco workers situation: TESCO exploiting Polish workers in Ireland or Successfull pickets outside TESCOs in England and Scotland
In Gdańsk, Szczecin and Częstochowa in Auchan supermarkets activists of WI spread information about conditions of work in supermarkets. Security of Auchan tried to intervene in Gdańsk but ended up just arguing.
More about Auchan workers: Memories from Auchan
In Poland several hundreds of thousands people work in supermarkets and companies connected with them. Employers break their rights. Only between 1999 and 2007 National Labour Inspectorate meted out 3,6 million zlotys for 20,000 of supermarket workers. This huge amount of money was stolen by employers but it is only the tip of the iceberg because not all snatches come into the light. Temporary workers who work for recruitment agencies are not objects or subjects of worker rights.
In 2007 National Labour Inspectorate controlled 78 supermarkets which are part of 28 trade chains. Control reports show that half of them:
- break rules of vacations, leave of absence, maternity leave;
- break rules of work time and do not pay for overtimes;
- do not provide safety rules.
Additionally, they pay horribly low wages, which very often are not higher than 380 EUR, provide bad working atmosphere and assure sick relationships between employees. Finally they fight against free trade unions and fire everyone who is able to critic or expect respect for labour rights.
WI took issue with other supermarkets. See more: Workers' Initiative and Polish Green Network complain European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Kaufland supermarkets and
Exploited workers against the supermarket Biedronka