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Postal workers strike in Poland

Very bad situation of Polish postal workers, especially postmen, has been a serious problem in Poland for years. One of the biggest weak points is the fact that postmen very often work more than eight hours a day (eight hours is the standard amount of working hours in Poland), they have congested bag (e.g. with advertisements) and finally they get very low salaries based on on a imprecise system of payment. This situation led to an outburst of wildcat strikes that began on 13 November settled in the end of November.

Postal strike began in Gdansk (Pomerania district). On the 13 November workers from two post offices refused to work and within few hours most of the 310 Gdansk's postmen went out on strike. The following day strike in Gdansk was even bigger. Postmen from neighbouring cities Sopot and Gdynia joined the striking from Gdansk. In Poznan All-Polish Trade Union Workers' Initiative together with Anarchist Federation organized a solidarity picket in front of the Poznan's post headquarters. The following day (15 November) there was a several-hour strike and a demonstration of postmen in Poznan and in Zielona Gora (both cities in western Poland). In Poznan there were 150 postmen protesting who besides the demands of pay raises and better conditions of work, also demanded to quit the plans to privatize the Polish Post (Poczta Polska).

The postmen from Pomerania cities signed an agreement on 16 November and the same day they came back to work (but after two day they came back to strike again), but the same day postmen from Kielce (central-southern Poland) refused to work. In Warsaw and its neighbouring towns workers from about 50 post offices also came out on strike.

The strike started to spread very quickly. On 20 November, postmen from several post offices in Poznan refuse to work. Postal workers from Szczecin (north-west), Lublin (east), Rzeszow (southern-east) and Cracow (south) join the strike. In Bialystok (east) none of the 160 postmen went to work. The same day, in Warsaw, there was half of the 2,900 postmen on strike. In Lodz district (central) post offices in Belchatow, Opoczno, Piotrkow Trybunalski, radomsko, Tomaszow Mazowiecki i Wolborz were closed, postmen in Belchatow and Moszczenica refused to work. There were also workers in Czestochowa nad Wroclaw (south-east) striking. Is has been estimated that half of the postal workers in Poland came out on strike, including postmen and office workers of Poczta Polska. Workers' Initiative organized solidarity actions in Silesia, Poznan, Gdansk and Szczecin. Activists and supporters of Workers' Initiative took part in strike in Gdansk and Mazovia district.

The whole strike was very spontaneous and in many regions it was conducted in conflict with the statements of trade unions. In negotiations with the management of Poczta Polska, trade unions were very passive and they were afraid to call a general strike. The biggest problem was with the amount of salary. Postal workers demand 30-40 per cent rise, meanwhile, trade unions negotiated radically lower sums. The management refused to accept not only the payment demands bout it also refuses to promise job security for the striking. From 28 November most of the postmen, who were hoping for a general strike, came back to work, sure of the betrayal of trade unions. On 18 December trade unions are supposed to announce general strike.

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