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ZSP Campaigns at Dino Supermarkets against Union Busting and for Better Working Conditions

ZSP has held the first picket in a campaign aimed at union-busting Dino Supermarkets. It is demanding the reinstatement of three workers, an end to the harrassment of unionists and improved working conditions throughout the chain.

Three unionists had their employment terminated at Dino market. The women, together with their co-workers, had formed the union this fall, hoping to get the supermarket to improve working conditions. One, who was on a fixed-term contract, did not have her contract renewed at the end of the year. Another was dismissed while on sick leave while the third was fired under a pretext for smoking (of course not at her work station), a practice which had always been tolerated and is done by other workers with no consequences. In a response to legal claims made by one of the workers, the supermarket refers to a „lack of trust” in the employee because she was „blackening the name of the supermarket” and „formenting unrest amongst the workers”.

What the workers were trying to accomplish were some simple improvements to working conditions. For example, they did not have a forklift and were forced to move heavy packages, exposing them to risk of serious injury. They also complained of overtime and having to work long hours on holidays.

(We understand there now is a forklift but the workers do not have the appropriate training to operate it.)

Unfortunately, the union that they joined was discouraging them, including discouraging them from making protests during holiday times. Nonetheless, a protest was held in Leszno on December 23, encouraging shoppers to boycott the store during the extended working hours on December 24 so that the workers could have a holiday like everybody else.

As is typical in this type of situation in Poland, one can expect retalliation. Unfortunately the union also was discouraging actions and telling the women to keep quiet. Even after they were fired. As if in unison with the bosses, they tried to convince the women that the best defence would be to do nothing. And they went to discuss the situation with the bosses - but the workers themselves were not invited. The union boss kept repeating that they should stay quiet, to wait and maybe they'd get reinstated. But we already know that they refuse to reinstate one and it would be strange if they changed their mind, especially as the union is not planning any campaign in defense of these workers.

However the women do not want to stay silent about the situation. If the mainstream unions do not want to confront the bosses for union busting, we will surely step in. We cannot tolerate such situations or such misleading of working class people who took a risk to fight in their interests. In a time when too few people are willing to do so, the big unions disappoint, seeking just polite dues paying clients instead of fighters at the workplace.

Since the union also discouraged the women from filing suits regarding their dismissals, we also have been helping with the legal aspect.

ZSP will be picketing Dino supermarkets throughout Poland, calling on consumers not to support its actions.

We also invite other workers from Dino who are not afraid to take action and organize from below. Solidarity and direct action are our best weapons!