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Repression in the Post-Office: Another case goes before the court.
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ZSP has written numerous times about how the management of the Polish Post Office tried to intimidate protesting workers by using threats and by firing 4 workers active in organizing while letting the contracts of a few others lapse, refusing to renew them.

A number of these workers sued the Post Office for compensation and reinstatement and also for unpaid overtime. The Post Office is trying everything to avoid reinstatement; usually their tactics revolve around attacking the workers yet another time.

Our comrade Rafal was singled out for his active part in organizing large protests in Warsaw and was given a disciplinary dismissal under false pretexts in March 2017. On March 16, a few thousand postal workers protested for higher pay,followed by a second national demonstration in April. and a number of concrete improvements in working conditions, some of which the Post Office was forced to partially react to. Salaries have been raised, but only 25% of what the workers were demanding.

The inefficient court system does nothing to help workers fighting for reinstatement as Rafal's case has just started to by heard, 15 months later. Nonetheless, it was important to take a stand in this official process to establish the pattern of abuse in this state institution.

On November 15 the case started with the Post Office trying to pressure other workers,who they called as witness, into supporting their frame up. However, things did not go as planned. While the Post Office has claimed that there was no forced overtime, and called overtime worked “a courtesy”, the workers testified that the Post Office was understaffed and that it was impossible to do everything in an 8 hour day. Furthermore, they all testified that the workers all chipped in 40 zloties a month from their own pockets to pay for help. Somebody would have to come in – even sometimes at 2AM – to sort the mail for them before working hours, otherwise they wouldn't be able to both do the sorting and deliveries on time. They also testified that the Post Office was not keeping evidence of the real working hours.

The management tried to justify their firing under the pretext of „safety concerns”. Thanks to the court case, we were able to obtain certain documents from the Post Office as evidence. While employed, Rafal was checked by the management and the following was written:

„The actions of Rafal Czerski […] consisting of calling on postal workers to protest, his connections with the ZSP, influences unrest and as a result, there is a risk of destabilizing the functioning of the Polish Post Office."
"Rafał Czerski is a sympathizer and maybe even a member of an anarchist organization called Związek Syndykalistów Polski. He actively participates in meetings and actions agitating for raises for mailcarriers. Rafal Czerski has brought his anarchist convictions to the Polish Post Office by distributing leaflets with radical content like „Enough exploitation – Time for Raises” and by calling for organization of postal workers from below in order to win pay raises."

Such texts leave little doubt that the main purpose of his dismissal was to stop organizing in the Post Office and derail the demands for pay raises.

In typical Polish style, the next hearing is scheduled for May 30, 2019. With workers having to wait a couple of years to get reinstatement cases heard, there is no doubt that most employers who illegally dismiss workers are never held accountable. In the meanwhile, the Post Office continues its programs of using prison labour to deal with the fact that few nominally free workers want to subject themselves to those conditions.