Polish workers took action today at Tesco Distribution on GreenhillsRoad in Dublin
Ireland's economic boom over the last decade has seen the migration ofIrish workers out of the country in seach for work reverse and a large migration of workers into the country from all over Europe. Both multi-national and Irish employers have been taking advantage of the precarious position of such workers to focce them to work for low (and often illegal) wages and in harsh conditions. The bosses are relying that as these workers often feel isolated in a new country where they may not fully understand the language they will not resist such exploitation. But over the last months the bosses have not been getting it all their own way as migrant workers have started to collectively organise. Thelargest dispute to date involved GAMA construction which was both massivly underpaying Turkish construction workers and forcing them to work many unpaid hours of overtime. Strike action by the Turkish workers forced the payment of significant amounts of extra money and the 'discovery' of a large percentage of their wages in accounts in the Netherlands that they were not aware of.
It now appears the multi-national supermarket chain TESCOs are the next company to be exposed. A picket took place at their Distribution depot in Dublin today which is located in the suburbs at Greenhills Road.
The WSM first became aware of the issue late yesterday after receiving an email from Poland via a comrade in Italy (globalisation cuts both ways). The text of this email follows (edited to remove full names).
We received a statement by a Committee of Defence of Temp Workers in Tesco in Dublin organized by Polish temp workers. They organized after two temp workers, Z. B. and R. S. were laid off from Tesco Distribution on Greenhills Road in Dublin. They were fired for protesting against continuous rising of daily norms and criticizing the recruitment system (leasing employees from temp agencies Grafton and Jobs).
The Committee of Defence of Temp Workers in Tesco demands:
1. Cancel the layoff for the fired workers
2. Making a rule that a temp worker who worked longer than 3 months gets a permanent contract with all benefits
3. Tesco must get rid of the daily norm of 1000 boxes.
The Committee will organize a protest at the gate of the wholesale department on July 28th (this thursday) at 13:30 Dublin time. Demands will be passed to management during the picket. If the demands are ignored, the Committee will call for a strike at Tesco Distribution and a blockade of the wholesale department.
WSM members who attended the picket to show solidarity reported that a short strike had taken place in the depot that morning and that around a dozen workers were picketing the gate over lunch. The workers who were Polish reported that protests are also taking place in Poland today in solidarity with their struggle.
The workers had made two banners for the picket one of which showed cartoon of a worker being torn apart between TESCOs and the temp agency.
It is estimated that there are over 50,000 Polish workers in Ireland.
Today, in Dublin TESCO AGENCY'S STAFF PROTECTION COMMITTEE was estabilished. Forming of commitee was reaction for firing two Poles - Zbigniew Bukala and Radoslaw Sawicki form TESCO Store on Greenhills Road, Dublin 24. They were fired because they protested against continous raising daily work norm and critisized loudly TESCO's recrutation way of workers. For instance, disadvantageous for workers hiring form Grafton and Jobs agencies instead of contracts. Direct reason of dismissing of Poles was appearing of articles in polish press, describing conflict beetwen agency's workers and management in TESCO Dist. in Dublin.
TESCO AGENCY'S STAFF PROTECTION COMMITTEE demand:
1. Immediate restoration to work in TESCO hired Poles;
2. forming the rules which allow all agency's workers who works over than 3 months for TESCO to receive contract, with all worker's privileges included.
3. abolition of the TESCO 1000's boxes norm