We are writing to express our solidarity with the workers of Frape-Behr who are fighting to maintain their workplaces. We understand that this case will be discussed on January 2. We are asking the Generalitat not to accept the labour force adjustment plan (ERE) and the company to reconsider the firings.
As we understand, the Behr company is in good financial standing and has improved its market position and profits, in large part by pursuing cheap labour practices in places such as Mexico, the Czech Republic, India, South Africa and China. According to Behr’s annual report, Frape Behr increased sales in 2006 by 5.5% to 365 million euros (one million euros per day!). Behr predicts even more growth in the future. Due to the healthy financial performance of the company, and due to the fact that Frape Behr was to start new projects with the Japanese and Turkish markets, we understand that this labour force “adjustment” is not neccessitated by real financial problems but represents rather a global tendency to seek cheap labour in order to maximize corporate profits.
On Dec. 8-9 the second congress of ZSP was held in Wroclaw. The first Congress, held in March 2007, was the founding Congress in Gliwice at which the general ideas of association were discussed.
People from 8 cities were in attendance. The following topics were discussed and decided at the Congress:
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ZSP had its founding congress on March 31- April 1 2007 in Gliwice. Our goals include spreading the ideas of social anarchism, anti-authoritarianism and anarcho-syndicalism in the workplace and amongst working people and the general population. We want to build non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist organizations and unions which are independant of the state, political parties or business interests. We want to change socio-economic relations completely, not just get some small concessions from the state and capital.
Members of the Union of Syndicalists, Poland are anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-communists and libertarian communists. They may belong to a different unions, depending on prior affiliation or local situation. If they are not members of a libertarian or anarcho-syndicalist union but rather a mainstream one, they should fight to promote grassroots unions, non-hierarchical organization and anarcho-syndicalist ideals inside that union. Where possible, they can form encourage workers to join an anarcho-syndicalist union.
Non-affiliated members of ZSP formed the union federation KFP – the National Workers’ Federation. After months of discussion and work, a statute was adopted at the end of August. The first workplace signed up 19 people in September and, as soon as the resolution and statutes are legalized, hopefully more workplaces will be set up.
The KFP is organized using radical principles of direct democracy; there is no chairperson or leaders and all representatives work by a clearly defined mandate.
More information as things develop.
A colleague wrote to tell us that a work agency which recruits people for the local automobile factory promises work conditions which it doesn’t fulfill.
WorkWonders agency is in charge of finding workers for the FSO Factory who are willing to work for 9 zloty an hour, or 360 euros per month. No experience is necessary they say. The agency encourages people to work extra on Saturdays, although without overtime pay. The claim that workers will be paid for this work from the factory cash register on the day of work but our colleague had to wait about 3 months for payment, which was made in contradiction to the law on overtime.
We joined the boycott of Coca Cola to protest its poor records on human and workers’ rights. We strongly believe that consumers should not financially support corporations which have bad policies, in particular bad labour policies. We find some of the past acts of Coca Cola corporation to be morally unconscienable and are outraged that they try to lekcewazyc the incidents. Among the problems that inspire our protest are:
- Supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa
- The murder of 8 unionists working in Guatemala Coca Cola bottling factories in the late 70s
- Repression of unionists in Mexico and El Salvador
On April 28-29, the Ideas and Action conference took place in Warsaw. The main goals of the conference were to discuss some ideas about non-hierarchical, radical anti-capitalist workplace struggle and to network people who were interested in both promoting these practices and engaging in ongoing and new campaigns.
There were people present from different groups; although the conference was called by the Anarchist Federation Praga, it was taken over by the Union of Syndicalists of Poland (ZSP) who were the main group represented at the conference. Other people from Poland came from the Anarchist Federation, Freedom Equality and Solidarity, CK-LA and Workers’ Initiative plus a couple of non-aligned people. Visitors mostly were from the IWA but also our guest from the International Communist Left made a lively interlocutor. People from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Turkey were able to make it to the conference.