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On February 25-26, pickets took place in nearly 20 cities in Poland and Germany, protesting against bad working conditions and union repression in OBI.

The action campaign was started by ZSP in Poland at the beginning of the year at the request of a couple of comrades from OBI and some workers from several cities who started to network on the internet. The main reason the campaign was started were incidents of union repression in the store in Krakow. So far OBI has fired a unionist there, threatened another with dismissal and refused to renew the contract of a third. In Walbrzych a worker who spoke out against bad working conditions received a disciplinary warning. The news about the formation of a union in OBI, which had no unions since the pioneer union in the chain was repressed in 2001, got employees around the country talking about working conditions in the stores and what they could do about them.


On Feb. 25 ZSP held a picket at the OTTO office in Opole - a city known for the large number of temp agencies sending people to work in Holland. Potential workers were warned about the agency and we confronted OTTO with the facts concerning their policies and practices against foreign workers in Holland.

As this picket was aanounced, the firm prepared for our visit. Not only were a couple of police cars there, but also the police chief and some women from the firm whose task it was to try to convince us that there are no problems, except for the strange behaviour of the workers.


Activists from the ZSP and a comrade from PA again visited the Warsaw office of OTTO Workforce. We went in with a list of complaints and demands to the company, listing some of the concrete abused OTTO committed against a list of workers and demanding they are paid what they were owed. We brought radio journalists and people from one of the main TV stations with us, to record the reaction of the company.

Despite the fact that OTTO's PR-trained management claim in the media that they listen to and deal with the complaints of the workers, nobody in OTTO Warsaw office wanted to talk to us or even take the letter prepared. All they did was try to get rid of us and pass the responsibility onto other people. They told us to bring our protest to the Wroclaw office (no problem), they told us to talk to Holland (we already did). Such tactics just show the level of arrogance of a firm that feels no responsibility at all for its broken promises and exploitation of workers.

We will keep informing people of the situation and more people have come forward to expose what is happening to them in Holland.


Some workers cheated by the OTTO temp agency are fighting back!

They don't get the conditions promised to them in their contracts and job interviews and the company makes money off a system of fines used at the workers' "hotels". The end result - people work and don't get paid, or they wind up paying too much money for substandard housing which does not meet the standards of the collective labour agreement OTTO is supposed to be following.

After some Polish colleagues working in Holland were cheated by the agency, they decided to take action. The Vrije Bond in Holland, ZSP in Poland and Priama Akcia in Slovakia have all started taking action to both inform workers of their rights and encourage them to organize and take action.


Over the last few years, there have been tons of complaints about the practices of the Otto Workforce temp agency, in particular from Poles being sent to work abroad in Holland. It has found itself on at least one internet blacklist as an agency which cheats workers. Some people who work there or worked there in the past, have contacted AGA and ZSP about various problems, asking what they can do. At the very least, they ask us to warn people and inform them of their rights and what can be done if they are cheated.


On February 1 ZSP-IWA started an information active about illegal temporary work contractds at the Call Center of Bank Millennium in Warsaw. According to the labour law, the work done by the employees at the Call Center should entitle them to permanent contracts but the bank keeps signing temporary ones.


Statement of ZSP on the so-called "March of Polishness" in Katowice January 22 and the counterdemonstration planned on that day

The far-right imbeciles of NOP are again organizing a demonstration. This time they claim they are doing so "at the request of the citizens of Silesia". The inspiration for the nationalists are the demonstrations of the Silesian autonomists, trying to build a Silesian identity. This is not to the liking of the Polish nationalists, who aim to demonstrate their "Polishness".

The Silesian autonomists, in turn, try to build support for their project using arguments about benefits citizens will get from regional autonomy. However, for the working class, there is no difference between regional, Polish or international authorities, bosses and exploiters. Capitalism has only one goal: to enrich the owners at the expense of others. The national colours or country of origin of the capitalism doesn't have the slightest meaning.
Neither regionalism, nor nationalism nor patriotism will ever be the basis of a movement aiming to overthrow the rule of capital. On the contrary, they can only strengthen it.

We are opposed to the constant manipulation of the nationalists who try to convince us that under their "national" leadership, exploitation won't be exploitation and repression won't be repression. We are against all attempts to channel energy aimed against power and capital into identity projects based on regionalisms or nationalisms. Our struggle is international, just like our interests: to take the means of production from the bosses and owners, to take back control over the workplaces and community and to overthrow all governments, regional, national or international, once and for all.

We don't agree with the attempts by some antifascists, anarchists and other activists who are trying to "reclaim" the idea of patriotism, suggesting that nationalists are not "real patriots", and that the idea of patriotism itself can be defended. Patriotism does not deserve to be rehabilitated. It is only a tool in the hands of cynic political operators who use the principle of "divide and conquer" trying to pit workers against each other.

Building political identity based on national and the state instead of on the grassroots class struggle is the force that drives nationalism, wars carried out in the interest of capital and the false consciousness of workers. Let's break with these superstitions and instead let's declare that workers have no countries, and the arena for our struggle is the entire world.

No war between nations, no peace between classes!


On Jan. 12, members of ZSP picketed OBI in Warsaw. In the morning, leaflets were handed out at OBI headquarters. In the evening, a picket was held in front of one of the stores. The date was not coincidental; that morning a court case started against the firm in Krakow where a woman fired for union activism took the firm to court to fight for her reinstatement.

At the Warsaw store, our comrades went inside and leafletted the customers while a smaller group stayed in front with a banner. People were given MOBI stickers, featuring the MOBI monster, symbol of mobbing inside the firm. Many people were interested in the situation and expressed their disapproval of the firm's labour practices.

After the action, we found out that the Krakow store decided to fire more union members, as a part of "regular reduction". They haven't been handed notices yet, but the union has been informed of this. We also heard that, under pressure to make a deal and discouraged by others, the worker took compensation and gave up asking for reinstatement. However, she says she is happy not to go bad to work at OBI, a firm which harrassed her and, when she had found work elsewhere, informed her new employees, causing her to be fired again. She said that she especially dressed in red and black when meeting with the bosses. We heard that other workers, after the action, also tried to wear some red and black elements to work under their uniforms, or as accessories. From one internet forum, we hear that people are talking about the situation and discussing what to do about firings, mobbing and the electronic salespeople who may appear in their shops.


At the beginning of 1995, one part of USI (which was based in the city of Rome) tried to lead USI into an organization called ARCA-USAE (linked to a coordination of European unions) together with other Italian unions, both alternative as well as corporate. The ARCA project lasted a few years and in the end failed due to internal power struggles.

The majority of USI at that time objected to joining ARCA, conscious that this would mean ending the identity of USI and its participation in the IWA.

The part of the union referred to as USI Roma arose as the result of an internal process that led to a Congress held in Rome in April 1996 in which they declared their separation from the rest of USI. The legitimate part of USI held its Congress in Prato Carnico in May of the same year.

The XX IWA Congress (Madrid, December 1996), after checking the authoritarian practices of the splinter group from the Congress of Rome, decide to expel them from the IWA, recognizing at the same time USI which had held its Congress in Prato Carnico, as the only legitimate section of the IWA in Italy.

Despite all this, the splinter group continued usurping the name USI as well as IWA, creating serious problems for the legitimate USI-IWA in its union action (calling strikes, labour conflicts, etc.).

The splinter group, in addition to arbitrarily using our initials, USI-AIT, continued to have an organization and a way of conducting union activity that can only be defined as clientelist, corporativist, authoritarian and oriented at delegating power to the top of the organization (including at some times supporting the Roman Rifondazione Comunista party in local elections). All of this clearly has nothing to do with the principles of anarchosyndicalism and the IWA.

An example of the problems caused for our union because of this unclear situation was when we called for a strike against the war in Iraq, together with other alternative unions. USI Red Black Coordination sent a telegram to the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research saying that USI did not call any strike. The consequence of this was an enormous confusion amongst workers, since the Ministry issued a statement that declared the strike didn't exist.

Another example are the declarations of the leaders of the USI Red Black Coordination which announce that they would vote for the candidates of the party Rifondazione Comunista in the local elections in Rome.

Therefore we want to inform the union that participates in the Red Black Coordination with the initials USI / USI-AIT, that the only USI recognized by the IWA, and therefore the only one that can legitimately use their initials, is the one who currently (2010) has its National Secretariat in Via Bologna 28, Genova, and whose current National Secretary is Guido Barroero, demanding an immediate end to use both the name IWA / AIT of our international, to which they don't belong.

USI-IWA website is and


On Dec.4-5 the 4th Congress of ZSP took place in Wroclaw. The first day of the Congress was dedicated to presenting votes on various proposals and discussing other proposals which will be voted on by referendum. Most had to do with improving internal organization but also there were decisions made about producing more printed material and holding more open meetings in different cities around Poland where we have been invited. Besides this, we had to
discuss the situation where one of our comrades had an industrial accident at work and how we will respond in case the company refuses to pay compensation and improve the health and safety practices. On the second day, we had more open discussion and visitors to the congress. There was discussion of future cooperation, new potential sections of ZSP and support of an upcoming campaign with a group of workers which contacted us. After the Congress, in the evening, there was an open meeting with the residents of the Nadodrze neighbourhood,
where the ZSP meets and which is being gentrified, The comrades hope to build a local resistance to that process.

We are hoping to start work on some of the new projects and campaigns after the New Year.

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