Pracujesz na umowie śmieciowej? Możemy pomóc!

Solidarity Protests with Dismissed Postman

A solidarity picket was held in front of the Post Office 12 July in Zielona Gora. Before the picket there was an information event on the pedestrian street against the changes in Labour Code. The action was organized by Workers Initiative from Zielona Gora and the ZSP from Szczecin and Gorzow took part. Pickets also took place in Gdansk, Krakow, Poznan, Szczecin, Torun, Lublin and two in Warsaw.

Bartosz Kantorczyk, a member of the Workers' Initiative, was dismissed from his job at the Post Office in Gdansk, in breach of the Polish Labour Code. Kantorczyk is an active union organizer who already has had his share of problems at the Post Office which offers employees poor conditions and remuneration.

Members of Workers Initiative at the Post Office entered into a collective bargaining dispute on Jan. 31 but the Post Office refuses to meet and negotiate with the union. The Post Office claims that Workers Initiative is not a recognized union at the Post Office.

One of the problems is that postal workers are required to collect and deliver money while delivering packages, paying pensions, etc. and thus often have to carry large amounts of cash on them, making them a target of muggers. (Yes, in Poland people can have their pensions, disability payments, etc. delivered to them in cash by the postman - a very nice service, but dangerous for postal workers.) Last year it was decided that in order to lower this occupational risk, postal workers should have to carry smaller limits of cash and should be able to deposit this cash with the Post Office more often. But this year they changed this are raised the limits on the amount of cash workers should carry. Kantorczyk refused to carry large amounts of cash and thus was fired.

Kantorczyk points out that most recently, because of a lack of male candidates, more and more women postal carriers are being hired. The post office previously had preferred to hire men over women because women were more often mugged than men.

Kantorczyk received notice while he was on vacation. According to law, the union should be informed when the employer wants to fire somebody and has a chance to approve the request or not. (Not approving it of course doesn't mean they can't fire you - it just means the union was against it.) Kantorczyk is also a named union rep, a category of worker which is protected under the Polish Labour Code.

It is obvious that the Post Office wanted to get rid of somebody who has been consistantly trying to improve working conditions and see to it that health and safety laws are respected at the PO.

Protests will be held in a few cities in Poland at the local Post Offices. The Post Office HQ is in Warsaw and activists from ZSP agreed with Kantorczyk that we would organize a picket on July 16, demanding the improvement of working conditions at the Post Office and that they stop repressing Bartosz for his union activity. Probably this picket will be supported by and co-organized with some other groups. Bartosz asked us to help inform people about this situation and to ask for support.

Since the time of the postal strike of 2006 (which Bartosz played an active role in), ZSP has been hosting a forum for postal workers. There is well over a thousand posts there describing how workers' rights are violated or how lousy the work conditions are. We will try to compile these shortly for a report. From what we can see, the Post Office is a very bad employer and we need people like Bartosz there fighting to improve conditions for everyone.

We have a sample letter here if people would like to send a protest fax. But please keep in mind, some creativity is helpful; it's always better to change the faxes a little instead of having everyone send exactly the same thing. (In other words, don't be too lazy!) Change details or change tone if you would like to send a more agressive letter.

Send to:

Pan Andrzej Polakowski

Dyrektor Generalny Poczty Polski

ul. Rakowiecka 26
00-946 Warszawa
faks 0-22-656-59-61

faks: 0-22 656-59-22

We are writing to protest the dismissal of Bartosz Kantorczyk, a postal worker from Gdansk, representative of the trade union "Workers' Initiative" in the Gdansk Post Office.

As we understand, Mr. Kantorczyk was dismissed without any consultation with the union, as is required by Polish Law, for protesting safety conditions for letter carriers. We believe that the union's concerns over the safety of letter carriers is fully justified and that the Post Office acted in bad faith by refusing to negotiate with the union on this matter. We also understand that the dismissal was conducted in violation of act least three points of the Labour Code and the Act on Trade Unions. Therefore we demand that Mr. Kantorczyk be immediately reinstated and that the Post Office management start immediate talks with the union.