In next week there will be Court Trials in the Polish ‘Working Courts’ against members of the Workers’ Initiative, a union with whom the IWW has a formal alliance.

It is important that people send protest letters and faxes from IWW to support three victimised WI members.

1) The first case will be on 11 December against MARCEL SZARY – General Secretary of Workers Initiative in Poland. He is accused of organising illegal strikes in the Cegielski Plant in Poznan City. He’s fighting the charges, and argues that the Plant workers have a legal right to stop work and discuss problems on the main square of the Plant (so-called “Plyta”), which workers have done for many years. Marcel Szary is a well-known and respected worker in Cegeielski Plant, always standing on the side of the workers and fighting for workers rights. For his activity and his battle against privatisation and sale of the Cegielski Plant, in the last few years he has experienced repression and attacks from management. There is not much time left, since the letter can be sent only by post to the Plant Hedquarters, but if the letter does not arrive before 11 Dec., there will probably be more trials after that. Please write a short letter in English and send it by Post.

Cegielski Plant Headquarters
H. Cegielski – Poznan S.A.
ul. 28 Czerwca 1956 r. nr 223/229
61-485 Poznan

2) On 15th December, in Slubice (Western Poland), the court case of TRANS company from Kostrzyn n. Odra will take place. The management of the company has been constantly harassing Jacek Rosolowski, an activist in the WI. Since Rosolowski has started to demand respect for workers’ rights , he’s being punished by management with various legal means and was sacked on December 2nd. TRANS company committed this sacking against the Workers Law Codex, and therefore illegally.

Please send protest letters on email and fax and also by post:

TRANS sp. z o.o.
Aleja Milenijna 21
66-470 Kostrzyn nad Odra.
fax 095 7529239
e-mail kostrzyn [at] trans [dot] pl

3) On 16th December in Gdansk, there will be a court case of Bartosz Kantorczyk, a postman and an activist of WI. Kantorczyk, a member of the Workers’ Initiative trade union in Gdansk and the initiator of a postal strike in November 2006, was unlawfully dismissed. The unionist had demanded improvement of job security in accordance with the law and had denounced violations of workers’ rights by the management of the Polish Post.

Improving the job security of postmen delivering postal money orders was one of Workers’ Initiative demands. Till now the employer didn’t undertake negotiations with the union, which is unlawful. Management is continuously questioning the existence and activity of the Workers’ Initiative in the company, thereby break the Trade Unions Act. Kantorczyk is a chairperson of the Workers’ Initiative commission and a rank-and-file postman. Since 12 June 2008, in protest against the illegal practices of the Post management and exposure postmen to danger, he has refused to deliver cash in his zone and informed superiors about that fact – what became the direct cause of the disciplinary dismissal. Kantorczyk decided to protest because of the disregarding approach of the employer towards workers’ safety – lack of adequate personal protection measures relative to the amount of money the average postman is obliged to carry.

Top management is doing everything possible to raise limits for cash, without simultaneously increasing security for the delivery workers. The internal rules of the Polish Post even in 2007 stated that the way to reduce the risk of attacks is to reduce cash limits and supply the delivery workers with cash in the post offices more frequently. In 2008 that instruction was changed by raising the permissible limits. The Workers’ Initiative didn’t agree with that.

The management tried to use statistics saying that by 2006 the number of attacks on postmen fell. The Workers’ Initiative claims that it was the results of maintaining smaller cash limits. There are reasonable fears that after the introduction of new internal regulations, the threat will
grow again. The approach of the management towards the workers’ safety can be illustrated also by other decisions, for example re-employment of female workers as delivers (it is difficult to find a male workers for that position because of low wages). Until recently they had ceased employing women in this role because female workers were more likely to be attacked.

The management, instead of solving a serious problem, decided at any price to get rid of the man who once again is demanding that they obey the law and not expose workers to unnecessary risks. While on holiday, on 30 June 2008, Kantorczyk received a letter informing that the employer cancelled the contract under Art. 52 of the Labour Code, meaning that he was discharged as a disciplinary measure. The employer did this without the required consultation with the trade union organization, and despite the fact that Bartosz Kantorczyk is a worker protected by law.

WI is demanding he is reinstated immediately.

Please send letters to:

Dyrekcja Centrum Poczty
OddziaÅ, Regionalny w Gdansku
Ul. Targ Rakowy 7/8
80-940 Gdansk