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Education Workers Fight Against Shady Contracts

At the beginning of the year, ZSP Education workers started work on developing a long-term campaign against the use of trash contracts in education. The first thing that we started on was informing about the use of „authors' contracts” instead of employment relations or even typical civil contracts. With these contracts, teachers were being paid for writing courses, instead of teaching them. So in fact, the contracts do not guarantee any wage based on time spent working and creates a big possibility of being cheated. The contracts also imply no working relationship and removes the responsibility of the school to make social security payments. We saw that this type of contract was being used to cheat workers and we targetted some foreign language schools that we knew were using them to begin with. A few weeks later, we were informed that the Social Security Office would do something about this problem. Critical of how the state acts, even when it is supposedly in our interest, we released the following statement.

ZSP Education and IT Workers on Control Related to Author's Contracts in Warsaw Language Schools

Recently ZSP Education Workers pointed out how some educational institutions were using „authors' contracts” for teachers and what negative consequences this could have for them. In particular, we noted their use in a number of foreign language schools in Warsaw, where people were being cheated, especially foreigners. The Social Security office has responded by announcing that it would inspect the schools and see if these teachers are being denied their correct status. This is being done by this office because on „authors' contracts”, the schools do not make social security payments.

Although we welcome measures to stop the use of these abusive contracts, we remain critical as to how the state acts in terms of workers' rights. At the same time that the Social Security Office is moving against these schools, which are predominantly small businesses, tens of thousands of workers are also losing all or part of their social security payments in other ways, or being forced to bear the burden themselves. We cannot forget that workers who are supposed to make their own payments while forced to be fake „entrepeneurs” tend to pay the lowest contribution possible and often pay in much less to their pension that their real employers would have to. The Social Security system is losing tons of money through this and workers are losing parts of their pensions. ZSP points out the abusive use of this scheme plus the use of „authors' contracts” in the IT industry. This abuse is even used in huge multinational corporations which the state refuses to control.

We point out that while these schools may be punished for using these abusive contracts, the teachers may also be found liable, owing money to the tax office. We are strongly against measures which also punish those who were coerced into signing these contracts, especially as the majority of people are simply not aware of the implications.

Finally, we point out that all of these measures against abusive contracts do not counterbalance the fact that the state is casualizing the teachers' profession in a very systematic way, making the use of trash contracts in education more common. Controlling actions against a small part of the abuse while being complicit in the much larger problem of the attack on education workers does not exonerate the state in any way from their responsibility. The struggle continues.