Workers at Krowarzywa, a Vegan restaurant in Warsaw are on strike.

On Monday 20th of June, 2016 a strike broke out in Krowarzywa – a popular Warsaw restaurant that serves vegan burgers. This is the latest stage in a conflict which has been going on for the last few months. This conflict arose because of changes recently introduced in the company as it undergoes substantial expansion.

The company has enjoying significant profitability. This enabled them to expand their operations. However the company are not sharing any of the benefits that they have gained. On the contrary, the re-organisation is being used undermine the workings conditions at the company:

  • Speedups, with no accompanying pay increase
  • The installation of CCTV cameras without staff being even informed
  • Failure to implement any form of staff consultation as these changes are made

The workers set up a branch of  Workers’ Initiative (Inicjatywa Pracownicza) a radical democratic union formed on the basis of self-organisation and in response to the crisis in Polish Trade Union movement.

However, this led to one of the workers being sacked on 19 June. The workers responded with a list of demands:

  • reinstatement of the sacked worker
  • the change of the way their salaries were counted (fixed rate per hour instead of sale’s percentage),
  • granting work contracts to those employed unofficially and on the so called “thrash agreements” (civic contracts)
  • union recognition

The employers responded with a lockout. The workers occupied one branch of the chain. Then workers at other restaurants came out in strike in solidarity. Although the employers at first agreed to negotiate, after two days they refused to reinstate the sacked worker and succeeded in persuading the workers at the other restaurants to distance themselves from the strikers.

Nevertheless, the strikers kept up their strike with 60-70 people on their picket line. Their slogans were: “Solidarity is our weapon”, “No to exploitation”, “workers’ rights – our rights”, “no to workers’ rights violation”, “our struggle in a just cause”.

For more information see: Strike at Krowarzywa restaurant in Warsaw – urgent call for solidarity