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New Attacks on Trade Union Pluralism

This week a draft bill was submitted which would amend the law on trade unions. The government would like to hit small trade unions hard by raising the level needed to represent workers in collective bargaining procedures and other forms of representation to 33% of the workplace.

Wildcat strikes of Czech workers in Hyundai and Dymos get massive attention

Around 20 workers left the welding shop in Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Czech in Nošovice near Frýdek-Místek (Czech Republic) during their shift on Tuesday 1st of December 2009. One day later there was an hourly wildcat strike in assembly hall at the same company. On 3rd December workers in Huyndai subcontactor Dymos organised an hourly work stoppage too. On 7th December the union called a “strike emergency” (a symbolic pre-strike measure to warn the management that unless they start negotiations a real strike action will be called) in Hyundai.

Hospitals Run out of Money to Treat Patients

Yesterday the Polish Union of Doctors held a press conference at which they announced that many hospitals must turn away patients because they had already reached their budget limits as set by the National Health Fund (NFZ).

Hospitals, whose budgets were slashed and who are under tremendous pressure to stay clear of debt, were often underfunded, meaning that money for patient treatment ran out in October. In many hospitals, only emergency rooms are working.

New Railway Workers' Protest Against Tranfer of Jobs

Polish Railways (PKO) decided to transfer jobs from three sections, including the cities of Siedlce and Walbrzych, to Warsaw.

Transfers are usually used as a way to liquidate jobs without compensation. If jobs are cut in group dismissals, PKP would have to pay out a redundancy package. If they transfer your job to another city and you refuse to you, the consider that you somehow "quit" and you are not entitled to anything.

Workers from Siedlce are already planning protest actions. There will be a hunger strike and blokade of the railway tracks.

38,000 zloties for Hunger Strike

A Polish court has ordered a worker from the Rudna mine in Glogow to pay 38,000 zl. (9,500 euros) to cover "damages" caused by his hunger strike in July 2007.

In fact, no "damages" were actually incurred. The costs are related to the fact that the mine claims it paid emergency workers... to keep an eye on the miner. And the bosses decided to charge the protestor for his protection.

Dariusz Kwiatkowski protested because the firm decided to pay out all the profits as dividends. As a unionist, he felt that some of the profits should go towards improving pay in the mine.

Unions in PKP cancelled strike - and PKP started cutting jobs

A strike planned for last Thursday at the Polish National Railways (PKP) was cancelled since 11 unions had worked at a compromise with the management. This included a guarantee of the number of people employed in Regional Carriers, in locations which would not be liquidated. It had earlier been announced that 4 of the regional centers would be closed.

(See: http://pracownik.net.pl/hunger_strike_in_pkp_group)

Unfortunately, in Bialystok the management presented the union which information that it wanted to dismiss 56 people and that this number could rise to 90.

Russia: Go Slow in General Motors

Workers at the GM plant in Petersburg are in the midst of a work slowdown. Last week they started working "very carefully". Production dropped by one third.

The workers have several demands for the factory: they would like to be guaranteed normal, 40-hour work weeks, get raises at the rate of inflation plus 8 percent and would like to take vacation when they want - not when management sends them (usually during the slow season).

The management of GM are denying that the workers action in taking place, but unionists have published statements with the workers' demands.

Workers from Cooper Standard Automotive have to work on holiday to impress American

500 workers from Cooper Standard Automotive Polska are being forced to work during tomorrow's public holiday to impress American Michael Talaga who will visit the factory in Bielsko Biala.

The labour law in unfavourable to production workers. The bosses may force such work and are only obliged to give another day off.

Hundreds of people will be forced to deal with the inconvenience of arranging alternative transport to the reduced public transport or will have to forego a day off with their children and find child care all to impress the heartless big wig.

Workers at National Stadium Construction Site not Paid; Work Stoppage Immiment

Workers at the construction site of the National Stadium in Warsaw, being built for UEFA 2012, are having trouble getting paid. There have already been some strikes and walkouts. More and more people are quitting their jobs and more work stoppage is immiment.

The work organization at the Stadium is so complex and some workers are not even sure who they are working for.

Some of the workers have no contracts at all.

Hunger Strike in PKP Group

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Workers from the PKP ZLK in Gliwice have started a hunger strike.

The ZLKs are part of the PKP-PLK division of the Polish State Railways. PKP-PLK wants to close ten regional centers. After negotiations with the unions, PKP agreed to liquidate only 4 of the regional centers. But they decided to close the largest one, in Gliwice, which employs 1700 people.