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Blockade at Zabka Shop in Warsaw
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Zabka is a chain of convenience stores with over 9000 shops in Poland and shops in the Czech Republic, making it one of the largest convenience store chains in Europe and a major employer in Poland. Unfortunately, it seems like many Zabka franchisees have absolutely no regard for workers' rights and are wage thieves. ZSP has already held numerous successful actions against these stores throughout Poland.

The situation at the Zabka shop on Pulawska St. 116 was particularly heinous for us. The action concerned two workers who were owed over 30,000 zloties (about 7400 euros) from the thieving boss but after the protest, another former worker contacted us and wants to join. The boss did not legally employ them, providing no contract and circumventing all statutory requirements. They had to work too many overtime hours including illegally on Sunday. The workers are underage teenagers who were in a desperate life situation and didn't know what to do. To make matters even worse, before leaving work, when one of the workers confronted the boss, he beat him.

We sent a demand letter and organized a picket. Just before the protest started, the owner ran away. We entered the shop to demand to talk to the owner, but he was not to be found there. The protest lasted over one hour and drew a lot of sympathetic responses from neighbors. Since the owner does not want to face us, we will be returning twice next week and we will keep going until everything is paid.

In the meantime, we note the non-reaction of the Zabka company to the numerous incidents that happen in their franchises. Although the franchise agreements specify numerous things that franchisees must do, ranging from the look of the shops to the way things are put on the shelves, apparently respecting workers is not one of them.