In my opinion on papers like this, besides putting opinions about the situation in given firms and valid critique, we should also, among other things, exchange experiences from fight for our rights - this kind exchange of information could really help us. Taking an opportunity - I would like to share with my humble experiences. For me the fight for our rights in work place means not only a resistance for employers' sweating, but also for different kind of guys - informers and so - called confidents. I work in smelting works, in very hard conditions, but this hard work can really merger people. Unfortunately, there is no team - work between the rest of working groups ( I work in a four - gangs system). From my, practical point of view, the best solution is to co - operate with a few closest friends from work that you can really relay on, you have to be sure that in case of any problems you will cover each other.
Together we won - by emphatic pressure (it almost came to blows) putted on work inspectors and people from BHP <safety and hygiene of work>, we made that the work conditions has improved, to be honest - the situation is still insufficient, but we didn't finish yet. We have almost succeed an arrangement of strike on our section - unfortunately there was no organisation in other working groups. Also the trade unions didn't help us - on the contrary - what they did has just frustrated our plans. However the management being afraid of the strike, in fear of us, took away the bonus from the whole managing staff and people from BHP, because they didn't care about the conditions of work and did nothing to change them.
We felt that together we are really strong, we can do something and it was beautiful. Later the managing staff was revenging on us, but it's a whole new story. Together we were exerting an influence on masters and now they know that they have to respect workers and their rights. Unfortunately people are still afraid of the management staff.
Everybody knows that loosing a job is very easy but finding one is almost impossible. However - as someone wise said - you can do everything if you don't let them catch you. This is why we use safe and already checked method : we send an anonymous letters. When they took away our allowance on heat - proof gloves and mineral water - things without which we just can't work normally - sending an anonymous letters ( in which we wrote as a whole staff that we won't work any longer in this conditions) to the management and presidents of trade unions - was enough. They gave us back our allowances. In the same way our overdue bonus was resituated.
We had a guy - our gangsman, total motherfucker, who could change your life in hell. Finally the tree of us set to work on him - we gave him to understand, that he should start to live with people in peace or otherwise he would have troubles. Since then he keeps quiet, he even resigned from the stand of gangsman and now he's an ordinary worker.
Regarding to self - organisation of spending our free time in so - called cultural way-we regularly organise matches (soccer or volleyball ) and lately we're even skiing. Together we also give parties - when someone's retired or when someone starts his job in our smelting works.
For a dozen or so years in our firm exists Factory Loan - Society : every worker can pay 15 zloty per month and in return every member can borrow money from it. We don't keep this funds in any bank and the rates are not interested.
I could describe here also another actions like our ex - manager deprivation what we did at instance of a list signed by the whole staff.
I realise that every firm has its own specificity and everywhere the situation looks a little bit different. However in every firm there's exploitation which we have to resist.
Marek Cienciała, Miasteczko Śląskie