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Volskwagen Workers: They fire, we organize!

  • Dział: English news

Last week, IP (Inicjatywa Pracownicza – the Workers’ Initiative) organized a workplace section in the Volkswagen factory in Poznań, Poland. At the same time three persons were dismissed, one of them on disciplinary grounds. The reason for these dismissals were the facebook entries encouraging to establish a union in the face of worsening work conditions. The company has officially considered it an infringement of its interests. In fact, it was all about not letting the new workplace organization (the one that would actually represent the employees’ interests) be established. Until now, it was NSZZ “Solidarność” [the largest union in Poland, known for its “yellow” attitudes as well as open support for the current government] who had the union monopoly.

In the end, due to the workers’ determination, the workplace section in Volkswagen was found, however the three of the engaged in the process remain jobless. Their dismissal is nothing more than repression for an attempt to organize in the struggle for better life quality of all the workers in the factory. 

Recently, the factory introduced the 17-th, Saturday, shift and the 18-th, on Sundays, is planned. Until now, there were 3 shifts from Monday to Friday (that is 3x5) plus one on Saturday. These changes were accepted by “Solidarność”, which was met with an outrage. The union, which declares struggle against working Sundays (for example in retail), easily agreed on the Volkswagen's corporate dictate accepting overnight shifts on Saturdays and Sundays.   

Meanwhile, in Volkswagen factory in Slovakia, 70% of the workers went on strike demanding higher salaries. After 6 days, the company agreed on 13,5% rise as well as 500 EUR single payments. Workers from the Poznań factory, also do not want to stay aside while the company is tightening their norms without raising the unsatisfying salaries. Workers at Volkswagen declare that, just as their colleagues from Slovakia, they will struggle for better salaries and work conditions as well as for the people, who are not afraid to fight for their rights.   

On the 10th of August, there was a press conference with the fired workers and active members of the new workplace section in front of Volkswagen Foundry in Wilda. Leaflets informing about the new organization and the situation in the company were distributed. Leafleting also took place in Antoninek and further informative actions are planned in the towns of Swarzędz and Września.  

If you would like to receive an update on the situation and support the IP Workplace Section at Volkswagen Poznań, contact the IP International Secretariat at: international [@] ozzip.pl 

Content of the leaflet addressed to the Volkswagen Workers 

Life of a simple worker in Volkwagen is no holiday. The work is hard and monotonous. The bosses force to do overtime work, outsourcing contracts are extended for years. The salaries are too low to enjoy life, remunerations for overtime work come with a one year delay… On top of all that, we have a “Solidarność” - the union which is friends with the bosses. Its members can’t be met in the production halls, because they hide in the offices. It is hard to count on their help in case of everyday problems. “Solidarność” has recently agreed on the additional, 18th shift without even consulting the workers. If the union does not represent the workers’ will, what is it doing at the workplace?  

At the same time Volkswagen fired three of our colleagues from the factory in Antoninek, officially – for their facebook entries. However, we all know that it is all about not letting the new union (the one that would represent the workers’ interests and not those of the bosses) in the company. As our response to the unlawful dismissals and Solidarność’s idleness, on the 6th of August we found the IP Inter-Workplace Section of the Volkswagen Workers.

 In the new Union:  

- we are independent from the directorate, we do not want jobs and company cars in an exchange for good relations with the bosses,

- we fight for better work conditions and better salaries for all of the workers (employed both directly and through the agencies), 

- each employee has an equal vote, we fight for the better lives of all of us – not the union bureaucracy.  

If you have enough of losing your breath for a pittance, corrupted unions and arrogant bosses and you do not want the 18 shifts system – join the IP (Inicjatywa Pracownicza)! IP unionizes permanent and temporary workers, belonging to other unions and non-unionized, working in Antoninek, Września, Swarzędz and Foundry.  

Alone, we have no chance against the directorate, but our strength gets bigger when we are together.