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Call for International Solidarity with the Polish Working Class

Days of Action – September 11-14

In the last two years, the Polish working class has suffered amazing attacks against their rights and working conditions. The retirement age was raised to 67 and most recently, the government did away with the guaranteed 8-hour work day. Unions are responding with protests from September 11-14. We call on people to support by sending messages of solidarity, posting banners or memes on the internet, putting banners or posters in the street, writing articles about the situation and organizing protests at Polish Embassies and Consulates around the world!

The Latest Attacks

The latest attacks on workers' rights include giving employers the right to make their employees work up to 78 hours a week, without overtime pay. This can be done by scheduling all the yearly work in a shorter period and then giving the workers time off during the rest of the year. But the employer is not obliged to pay the normal wages during this time, which means they can essentially pay you significantly less money for the same amount of work.

Such working conditions can now be agreed by an individual worker, despite the unions agreement or lack thereof. It can also be agreed by a workers' representative from a work council. The election of works councils is determined in accordance with regulations set up by the employers and the representative is not accountable to the workers and has no right to start collective disputes.

The latter is clearly a way to undermine the power of unions to negotiate.

More Attacks on Unions

The unions in Poland are already in a state of capitulation. They did not give a good fight against raising the retirement age. There hasn't been a nationwide general strike for over 30 years. After the introduction of the latest amendments, they threatened a strike. The union Solidarity even held a referendum and they overwhelming majority of those responded voted for a strike. But the union stalled on calling it.

In response to the threats of a strike, the government retalliated by introducing a draft bill which would cut subsidies to unions, which allow for professional union positions in companies. While we condemn the government's attempt to punish the unions for daring to mention the word strike, we also condemn the farce of the mainstream unions. They have been negotiating away the rights of workers for years, always avoiding conflict to maintain their positions and the status quo. We see again how they pretend to the workers to threaten a strike, but are not willing to carry through once the government threatens their money and sponsored jobs.

Instead of a strike, we have days of action September 11-14. ZSP will organize alternative events during this time.

Actions in Support

We ask for support of the Polish working class against the attacks of the State and Capital. In particular, we appreciate shows of support for the idea of a general strike, which is our slogan, despite the actions of the mainstream unions.

International Workers' Solidarity against the State and Capital!

(More info to follow)