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On May Day we organized a local demonstration and street meetings in the Praga district of Warsaw where there has been a recent protest movement of tenants who are fighting against rent increases and the reprivatization of some public houses. The day started with a street meeting with residents. related to rent increases which took effect May 1. Although there were fewer people than at recent protests, the neighbours were able to meet and discuss what to do next and how to attract more people to the movement. People were invited to a meeting to discuss an upcoming direct action.

The main May Day event started in front of the Praga hospital. Besides people from ZSP, some comrades from Workers' Initiative and Anarchist Federation came, as well as some non-aligned people, some left activists and some local residents. The situation with the commercialization, restructuring and privatization of health care was discussed. The anarchists explained that we do not people in the two main choices given to people: either bureaucratic state-run health care or commericalized health care. Instead we proposed workers' self-management and public control and co-management of all public services. A lot of anarchist ideas for the reorganization of the work place and society were mentioned. The same ideas were repeated about the Post Office and the railways.

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On April 24, members of some sections of Workers'Initiative and Union of Syndicalists,
along with members of the Silesian Anarchist Federation, went to the office of the Head of
the Local Adminstration in a solidarity action with the workers of the Psychiatric
Hospital in Bielsko-Biala which voted in favour of a strike two weeks ago during a
workplace referendum.

The hospital, is slated for restructuring and, most probably
commercialization, which means that there is more work, everybody is supposed to be more
efficient, but probably many jobs will be cut. The workers are demanding that the number
of beds in the hospital not be reduced, that the staff not be reduced and that they
receive a pay raise of 400 zloty (less than 100 euros) per month.

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The Union of Syndicalists (ZSP) will celebrate May Day this year with the residents of Warsaw's Praga district who have been protesting against rent increases and the reprivatization of public housing for the last few months.

Hyde Park with Tenants / Residents

Prior to the May Day demonstration there will be a series of small Hyde Parks - in backyards, parks and other public places. ZSP calls on residents to resist the rent increases with protests, direct action and a rent strike. Instead of housing run by irresponsible and corrupt bureaucrats, we call on people to organize themselves and repair their decaying homes with their rent money instead.

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This week is the one year anniversary of the death of 20-year old Krysztof in the Vobro factory in Brodnica. There was a big cover-up of his death. Members of ZSP went to Brodnica to put up posters in memory of Krzystof, do some propaganda work and to deliver a certificate for "Worst Employer of the Year" to Vobro who was given that (dis)honour in the Worst Employer of the Year awards held by ZSP.

Unfortunately the trip ended up at the police station after ZSP members were attacked by Vobro goons.

(For info on the death of Krzystof, see: http://cia.bzzz.net/bitter_death_in_a_chocolate_factory.)

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ZSP Warsaw has set up a hotline for local residents to get advice on labour law, how to start a union, make protests, organize or file a claim. Members of the public may also use the labour law library at the Infoshop which has many books and articles with helpful advice.

warszawa@zsp.net.pl

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From the Solidariteit webzine.
Polish temp worker fights back [1]

On the 12th of December 2008 Michal signed a contract with the temporary employment agency Groen Flex in the Polish city Opole. Groen Flex would send him to work with Eurocontract Zeeland in the Netherlands. The contract applied for a period 78 weeks and they told Michal he would work in glasshouses with vegetables. The contract, signed in both Poland and the Netherlands, guaranteed health insurance starting December 15th 2008. This ‘guarantee’ became the point of difference between Michal and his union on the one hand and Groen Flex on the other.

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On March 12, ZSP members organized a picket at the events commemorating the anniversary of Poland's entry into NATO. These events, held at Warsaw University, included a "NATO village", a display of military hardware and the First Transatlantic Forum, attended by many international politicians.

There is a video interview with a member of ZSP in the main newspaper (in Polish):
http://miasta.gazeta.pl/warszawa/1,34889,6377088,Protestowali_przeciw_NA...

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Today about 25-30 people took part in the occupation of the office of Groen Flex work
agency in Opole, Poland. The activists, demanded to talk to the boss and would not leave until he appeared. In the meanwhile, the office was closed for business. The boss man later showed up but only wanted to speak in private with one person. People refused and instead the whole discussion was filmed by TV crews. The guy was claiming all sort of contractatory things but also said that as soon as they get the hospital bill they will pay it. But at the same time he was saying it didn't depend on him, but on the Eurocontract people in Holland since the Polish registered entity was not the employer, only the Dutch one.

Eventually people left but promised that they would be back with a larger group of people if the demands were not met.

On the same day, members of AGA (Anarchist Group of Amsterdam) visited the workers' hotel where Groen Flex employees live, the shipyards where the accident took place and the office of Groen Flex. These actions were extremely helpful in getting contacts with some people, including a witness and another person who has a case against Groen Flex. AGA also helped in many ways prior to this action, including getting the labour inspectors on this case. (PS - The company didn't tell the inspectors the truth, but surely the truth will come out.) Everybody thanks them for their help and solidarity.

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Last month we were informed of the case of a Polish worker who had major troubles with his employer, a temporary work agency called EUROCONTRACT, and the Polish firm Groenflex. Michalek was sent to work in Holland by Groenflex a work agency in Opole in December. He was supposed to be picking vegetables and had a contract for 78 weeks.

The contract he signed in Poland was only a preliminary one; when in Holland he had to sign a different one, with the firm EUROCONTRACT. Instead of working picking vegetables, Michalek was sent to work in a shipyard, without any special training. In a few days, he was sent to clean chemicals without protective clothing. He lost consciousness and was rushed to the cardiology department of the hospital.

Instead of taking any care of their employee, EUROCONTRACT simply terminated the contract with Michalek. He returned home to Poland. Then he found out that he owed the hospital almost 3000 euros.

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ZSP held a contest for the title of "Worst employer of year 2008." Any person could nominate the employer. Many people wrote and told of breaking the workers rights in their workplace. Last week ZSP announced the winner... or maybe we should say, the losers.

First place went to firm Vobro. Some workers from this chocolate factory made nomination, as well as members of family of Krzysztof Pruszewicz, who died in factory and readers of CIA. ZSP promises to deliver prize personally to boss.

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