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New Wave of Protests and Threat of Repression at the Polish Post Office

The mass protests of postal workers in 2017 coordinated by ZSP and a network of workers outside of the mainstream unions was met by some repression but also brought a few concessions to the workers and promises of improved working conditions. However, most of the workers' postulates were not fulfilled, leaving them dissatisfied. After some months of recovery, workers again have started to mobilize and again the Post Office has issued a number of heavy-handed threats.

Comrades from ZSP have been mobilizing. On January 29, a representative of ZSP delivered a list of demands to the Post Office central in Warsaw on behalf of the network and on January 30, a picket was held in front of a court in Wroclaw in defense of Zbigniew Trochimiak, a postman from ZSP who had been fired from his job for union organizing after 36 years working in the Post Office.

Postal workers from around the country have started to coordinate mass actions again. And of course it is flu season, which means a lot of workers seem to be getting sick. So much so that a number of Post Offices are completely paralysed, for example, in Opole, Brzeg, Swiebodzice, Swidnica, Trzebina and Lewin. The Post Office management is now trying to take action against workers going on sick leave, with directives coming down ordering supervisors to report people and take other measures.

A week earlier, the Post Office sent a warning to workers saying that writing negative things about the Post Office could lead to their dismissal. They also warned workers about other legal consequences of revealing what they consider to be „trade secrets” - a concept which they use to cover many normal aspects of the operation.

It is clear that they refer to our network, which has a popular Facebook profile which thousands of postal workers follow. Many workers have aired their grievances or organized protests through this community.

From the recent increase in activity and signs of protests and industrial action brewing, the Post Office has been turning up the pressure. In response, workers decided to draw up a new list of demands. Many of these are a repeat of unmet postulates from previous actions. The workers also demand that our fellow workers Zbigniew Trochimiak and Rafal Czerski be reinstated.

The legal system in Poland being too slow, such demands are best accompanied by direct action, however there was an unfortunate demobilization after the repression. It seems like this time is over though. In the meanwhile, more than one year after his dismissal, Zbigniew was in court fighting for reinstatement to his job. A solidarity picket took place outside the court while others were inside supporting.

As the situation develops and the cold and flu season continues, we expect the situation to get more interesting very soon.

Reinstatement for Zbyszek now! No more repression for union activity!