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Meeting at Health Ministry and Solidarity with Striking Nurses

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A group of nurses from the Polish Union of Nurses and Midwives have been protesting in front of the Health Ministry in Warsaw for the last two days in solidarity with striking nurses from the Beskid Region. The nurses have been on strike there for two weeks, demanding they be given raises promised them in 2006-2007.

Berlin: Demonstration for Union Liberties During Berlinale Award Ceremony

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On February 20, during the Berlinale Film Festival awards ceremony, members of FAU and supporters demonstrated from the Berlinale to the Babylon Cinema. The demonstration was meant to remind people of the case of Babylon where the boss refused to recognize FAU as a union, leading to a court decision banning FAU from calling itself a union and from calling for a boycott of the cinema.

A few hundred people marched in support of the union's right to exist and the workers' right to freely create and join workplace organizations without state or boss interference. Members of FAU vow to continue the stuggle and wish to challenge the restrictive laws and practice in Germany.

More info: www.fau.org
http://www.fau.org/verbot/en

Director of Hospital in Bielsko-Biala Hires Scabs and Tries to Repress Nurses

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The strike of midwives and nurses in the south of Poland is continuing. The strike started at the beginning of the week in five hospitals in the South of Poland - in Zywiec, Brystra, Miedzybrodzie and two in Bielsko-Biala. The nurses are demanding raises that were promised to them in 2006 and 2007.

In the hospital in Bielsko-Biala, where 200 nurses are on strike (and 16 on hunger strike), the director of the hospital, Ryszard Batycki, has already started signing contracts with scabs. In addition to this, Batycki, who regards the strike as illegal, has informed the prosecutor's office of this.

Green Way Vegetarian Restaurant doesn't Pay Workers

In 2005, there was the first information about problems in the Green Way restaurant in Łódź. In 2007, information on the subject was published on the portal CIA . Former employees pointed out that people were often hired on unpaid "trial periods". Such unpaid trial periods are illegal, but that doesn't stop sleazy employers from deceiving workers.

A lot of discussion followed. As it turned out, a worker in Poznan had similar experiences and spoke of how workers were required to do two free 13-hour shifts. Besides the free labour, in both cases, working conditions were abyssmal.

Nurses and Midwive's Strike in South of Poland

Nurses and midwives have started a strike in five hospitals in the South of Poland - in Zywiec, Brystra, Miedzybrodzie and two in Bielsko-Biala. The nurses are demanding raises that were promised to them in 2006 and 2007.

The strike started on Monday, but nurses did not at first leave work. Now they have started to do so. One third of the nurses at the main hospital in Bielsko-Biala, where almost 500 nurses and midwives are employed, are on strike.

Four of the five hospitals claim that the strikes are illegal.

Nurses with 20 years' experience still receive a basic salary of only 2,300 zl. (567 euro). Their salaries should have been raised in increments to 3000 zl. (740 euro) according to the agreement.

ZSP Warszaw on the State Labour Inspectorate's Findings Concerning Deaths at the Stadium

Representatives of the State Labour Inspectorate wondered during a press conference how such an experienced company like Alpine Bud could tolerate unqualified workers at their construction site building the National Stadium. They imposed small fines on two subconstracting firms - Żuraw Grohman and PPW Safety - plus on the supervisor who did not do his job. The fines amounted to about 3000 euro for the death of two people.

State Labour Inspectorate Confirms Deaths at Stadium the Result of Negligence

The State Labour Inspectorate presented its findings concerning the death of two workers at the construction site of the National Stadium in Warsaw. The Inspectorate found that basic safety measures were not adhered to and this was the direct cause of their deaths.

The workers died when the crane basket they were riding in fell off and they plunged almost 20 meters to their deaths. The baskets shouldn't have been used at all as they did not meet a number of standards. The chains used were also broken.

Are Ikea and Budecon Endangering Lives to Open Store on Time?

Workers at the Port Lodz construction site are afraid. The site of a shopping mall centered around IKEA is being built by Budecon construction company. That's because quite big cracks appeared in about 50 columns holding up the parking garage and workers are afraid the terrain may be quite unstable.

Workers who heard and saw how the cracks appear are extremely concerned and say that such things are not normal. This happened in December and, they received a notice not to work near the garage. Since then, they haven't.

But IKEA wants its building completed and there may be severe contractual penalties for Budecon if it is late in delivering the site.

Deadbeat Bosses Leave Workers without Salaries

More and more workers in Poland are going for months without pay by deadbeat bosses. In the worst cases, the bosses go running and nobody can find them.

The following deadbeats and cheaters are among the many candidates for "the Worst Boss of the Year Award": Jerzy Rowicki, "liquidator" of Collar Textil, Marek Stanislawczyk, former owner of the same company, Friedrich Langenbach of Fassaden Glas Technik in Ozorkow and Myung Bok Lee of Hanpol Electronics in Lodz. This is what happened.

Polish Activists in Defense of Freie Arbeiterinnen-und Arbeiter Union

On January 11, Union of Syndicalists called for a day of protests at the German Embassy and Consulates in Poland against the injunction which forbids the Freie Arbeiterinnen-und Arbeiter Union (FAU) from calling itself and union and essentially carrying out workplace union activity. Protests were held in Warsaw, Wroclaw, Gliwice, Gdansk and Olsztyn.

The activists pointed out that what is at stake is the workers' right to form and join the union of their choice and not to be told who is to represent them for lack of union pluralism.

The Union of Syndicalists calls for the decision to be overturned.

More on the situation in FAU:
www.fau.org

Unoffical strike in auto-sector in Czech

300 workers were on strike because of wages in factory owned by company Grammer in town Most (North Czech) today. The strike which was organized by workers themselves was started by morning shift and joined by afternoon shift.

Under the pressure of management strikers called off the strike during the afternoon, called strike emergency and promised that they will make up lost time during extraordinary shifts.

The reason behind the action was new salary allotment, which mean for some workers decline of wages by 3 – 5 thousand crown per month. Present wages in the factory amount 12 thousand – 21 800 crowns per month (overtime bonuses and company benefits included) before taxation. Company benefits amount about 50 percents of wage.

After the threat by bosses…

Deadly Health and Safety Problems at the National Stadium Construction Site

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Members of the Polish Union of Syndicalists (ZSP) are documenting safety violations at the construction site of the National Stadium in Warsaw.

One problem relates to lack of proper safety lines and nets for all workers. The site is being built by many different subcontractors, and not every one is complying with standards. The next problem is lack of training for unskilled workers who theoretically shouldn't be doing any dangerous jobs, but in reality are exposed to different hazards. The last problem, which is sorry to note, is that workers are allowed to work even if they have been drinking. This seems to be more problematic on the night shift; construction goes on at the site until 3AM.

Russia: Duma wants to combat protest tactic

A bill was introduced to the Russian Parliament (the Duma) that would boost fines and introduce prison terms for protesters who block roads. Blocking roads is a popular form of protest for workers.

A demonstrator who blocks a road would be punished by a fine of up to 100,000 rubles ($3,370) or up to two years in prison. Such fines are enormous compared to workers' salaries.

The current fine, rarely imposed, is up to $50.

President Dmitry Medvedev has already warned governors that they face dismissal if they don’t keep protesters away from major roads.

Situation with Panda Production at Fiat Tychy

The managers of FIAT would like to have more autos produced in Italy. In particular, they would like to move part of the production of the Fiat Panda from Poland to Italy. The Minister of Economic Development, Paolo Scaiola, has been pressing on FIAT for months to increase production in Italy. Fiat invested a large sum in modernizing a plant there 2 years ago.

It is not clear whether Fiat expects the taxpayers to foot the bill for this. This planned move in production defies the capitalists' typical logic of producing things cheaply. The production output levels for the 22,000 workers in several factories in Italy is practically identical to the output of the Tychy factory - with only 6100 workers. Who are cheaper.

The PKS Wielun Company Store

Merchandise coupons and vouchers are great tax avoidance vehicles for companies which wish to compensate their employees without raising their salaries or the cost of social benefits related to salaries. Employers especially like to give these out around Christmas time instead of a cash bonus.

The workers at PKS (the main Polish bus company) in Wielun were, like most, happy to get free merchandise coupons this year. However, it turned out that they could only be redeemed at the company store.

And, not surprisingly, the prices there are much higher than any place else in town.

What a great scam the bosses are on to! Not only to they save money on taxes, but by overcharging their employees at the company shop, they get the money they spent on coupons back with a hefty profit.