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Picket at Dino Supermarket in Pabianice

On February 22, another picket was held at the Dino Supermarket in Pabianice. We decided to return to this market because when we were there last time, we saw how health and safety regulations were being disregarded.

One of the demands of unionists at Dino was that the workers be trained to use electric fork lifts, which the company has, instead of being forced to manually drag heavy stacks of cartons or bottles. The law clearly states how much women are allowed to drag on a smooth surface and for heavier loads, they need equipment to help. Many workers who are forced to move heavy weights sooner or later have serious back injuries. In one very famous incident in another supermarket, a pregnant woman miscarried from dragging heavy boxes.

During the picket, we explained about workers' rights in the supermarket and discussed with customers and people in the neighbourhood. We also put posters up informing workers about the health and safety regulations which apply. When we put up a poster on their door, one of the managers got crazy and said she would call the police. Later we met the police, but they just took a leaflet and left.

In the meanwhile, the situation in with remaining women in the union left in Dino is becoming more difficult. The fired unionist who was returned to work after making some deal handed over the list of union members to the firm, which she is not required to do by law. (And when there has been any repression, this is really problematic.) Now the head of the union decided to hold elections on rather unfair conditions; they will be held in one town, workers cannot send a vote and only can vote in person, in that town. So we shouldn't be surprised if the people from that town (where the reinstated unionist on the deal lives) might be the only ones to show up to vote and, in such a way, can win the „elections”. We share our opinion with the workers that this is no way to encourage any democratic unionism and is only the way to set up an unaccountable union bureaucracy.

We also note that people from other unions have been trying to persuade the women not to protest. But if they didn't agree to the first union bureaucrats' demands for silence, why would they agree to these?

Some unions are apparently trying to make these protests go away, but we, on the contrary, will keep them going as long as there are workers willing to fight against the violations against workers rights at the chain.