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A rent strike action started in Warsaw on Oct. 1. The strike has just begun and hopefully will spread to include more participants around the city. The strike is part of a series of actions planned to protest city housing policy and was called by ZSP. The actions will include local protests, assemblies and direct actions against administrative offices, courts and local politicians responsible for the situation.

Yesterday the first local protest was held in the Praga district of Warsaw. Although ZSP is promoting the idea of the strike and bringing housing under popular control, the protest included other postulates for the here-and-now including rent reductions, raising the income levels required to qualify for public housing, more investment in this area and an end to the corrupt practices of the administration and the privatization mafia. More protests are to follow throughout the week.

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ZSP will be a critical participant in the labour action against austerity to be held 29 September in Warsaw.

The main unions, Solidarity and OPZZ call for a symbolic protest, which is not even a strike. Austerity measures of all sorts, reforms in the Labour Code and Act on Trade Unions are hitting workers with huge force, yet all the unions call for is a few hours of protest. These unions even do not encourage workers on a large scale to take a day off and go to the protest: their armies of paid union activists will lead the protest instead. Despite this, we know that some groups of rank and file workers from supermarket chains (who want to strike and are held back by the unions) and the railways will be there - so we will too.

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ZSP Warsaw is calling for a rent strike starting on Oct. 1. The strike is meant as a protest against the housing policy of the city and against serious problems with the reprivatization process in Poland. It is meant as a means of radicalizing tenants' protest, which the local politicians try to ignore. It aims to bring together tenants who face eviction or live in dangerous and substandard housing to organize for their own mutual self-defense. The strike will be accompanied by public meetings, assemblies and hopefully the creation of neighbourhood committees.

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Pickets at Azteca Bar in Warsaw are continuing. After failure to make any progress with the boss on Friday / Saturday, ZSP decided to picket the establishment every day at lunch and dinner hours. The protests are related to illegal deductions taken from the pay of our dismissed comrade, attempts to make people work illegally, without any contract and unpaid trial periods, with 'training' that the boss wants to charge workers for if they do not work a certain period of time.

During the first picket on Monday, the boss of the bar became very agressive towards the leafleters and started making many threats. According to him, handing out leaflets should end in 'criminal charges" and he threatened to sue us for losses his business has incurred due to our pickets. He made a great scene, shouting at and filming the protestors and calling the police. Neighbours and passersby then got involved in the argument. Most people tell him he should pay the money.

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On Aug. 20, ZSP held an action at Azteca Bar in Warsaw. We are demanding an end to the deliberate cheating of vulnerable workers in this cafe.

The problems which led to the conflict are the following:

1. The owner of the bar (Jakub Mazur) uses unpaid trial periods for workers. On top of that, he claims that he provides "training" to the workers and estimates the value of this training at 1300 zloties (326 euro). He gives the workers contracts which state that this money will be deducted from their salaries if they do not work a certain period of time. It is approximately one month's salary - for full-time workers, So if somebody works only one month, s/he will receive nothing.

Most of the workers are students, working part time. Our comrade, a high-school student, was earning about 500 zloties a month (125 euros), so this fake "training" would cost people like that almost three months' salary!

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On July 24 there was a protest in a Carrefour supermarket in Warsaw against the humiliating treatment of workers imposed by tbe management. The protest was directly related to the introduction of the "red dot" system where employees have to stand on red dots in the middle of the crowded market to speak to their managers. It came out that workers even had to stand there if they wanted to take a toilet break.
Workers protested that this was ridiculous since sometimes that even had to wait 5-10 minutes for a supervisor to come and give them permission to leave their work station for a toilet break. This time to get permission is a lot longer than just going to the toilet, so it actually makes the break much longer. However, if an employee goes without permission, s/he could be fired. The workers feel this is done especially to discourage them from asking for breaks.

Many people responded to this news quite negatively. A Facebook group was formed calling for a boycott. Members of ZSP sabotaged the red dots and produced propaganda stickers and called on people to protest to Carrefour. Carrefour later tried to claim that the rule about standing on the dot to go to the toilet was just an "incorrect interpretation" of individual store managers,

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ZSP again took part in the International Day of Actions at the Start People temporary work agency. The action is in solidarity with our comrade from CNT-AIT Zaragoza and with all workers struggling against precarious employment conditions.

Last November, Start People tried to change the contractual conditions of a group of people working in Qualytel. Our comrade who refused to accept worse conditions did not have her contract renewed. Although the court later ruled that she was essentially dismissed illegally, and although the court found an illegal transfer of workers, she was not reinstated in her job.

Comrade Irantzu and the CNT won't give up and are still fighting for her reinstatement.

Members of ZSP picketed Start People in Warsaw, giving out leaflets about this case, newspapers and information about problems with temporary work. The workers at Start People, who received information and spoke with us about the case last time, also came out to ask how the comrade's case is going. They said they would again inform Start People that we were there.

Besides Warsaw, pickets also took place in Sochaczew and Pruskow.

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ZSP has started a campaign to help get plane tickets bought for 21 Chinese workers who are stranded in Warsaw and have no money to get home. All of them are in a precarious situation: they have little money and face deportation. They are camped on the lawn of the Chinese Embassy in extremely bad conditions.

The people worked on the Wola Tower construction site in Warsaw. ZSP is asking the firms involved to pay for tickets back to China.

Currently, under the law, employers hiring people from countries like China have no obligation to ensure that they have a ticket home. Visa regulations have been relaxed to make it easier to exploit Asian workers, so having a return ticket is not even a requirement for receiving a work visa.

ZSP is trying to make pressure on the investors in Wola Tower. It is also trying to force the Ministry of Labour to reassess the requirements for hiring foreign workers in Poland, the lack of responsibility placed on the bosses and the lack of possibility for foreign workers to protect their rights and bring claims against their bosses.

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ZSP calls again for boycott of elections. We don't need and don't want any president or any government! We call on people to instead build the militant grassroots organizations to fight against exploitation and government and take popular control!

18 June was action at Metro Centrum in Warsaw. Boycott elections actions are always popular with people who see no politicians who represent their interests. We try to send message that it is not lack of good politicians which is the problem, but nature of government.

20 June is elections and 19 June we have so-called "election silence" but there is tradition in Warsaw to go out on day of election and day before to agitate. Already electoral commission made decision that boycott campaign does not fit into laws against election silence.

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18 June was a picket in the center of Warsaw at HM. The picket was related to two cases of violating workers' rights. The first was in relation to the horrible tragedy at the Garib garment factory in Bangladesh, On February 25, 22 workers were killed in a fire. The workers were locked in the factory and could not escape; on top of that, there were numerous safety violations. The National Garment Workers Federation is calling for compensation for the families of the victims and better safety standards at the factory.

The second has to do with the case of Diego, a worker in a Madrid shop who was forced to sign his own resignation against his will. The CNT is demanding he be reinstated to his job and will not tolerate such intimidation of workers. Several pickets have been held in Spain about this case and the CNT called for international actions.

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