Workers of the Firem Factory near Modena should take issue with the government of Poland. This is because their jobs have been moved here – to Oława where their ex-boss, Fabrizio Pedroni, will receive tax exemptions and other aid for creating jobs in Poland.
In Italy he had about 40 employees. In Poland he only assured the people in charge of granting permission to operate in the Special Economic Zone that he would hire 18 people. It is not clear whether he will employ more – or just put the work the Italians did on fewer people. In Poland such bosses can now hire people to work up to 78 hours a week for many months, giving them „vacation” for the rest of the year. With such a work schedule, far fewer people would be need to do production work if the production levels fluctuate throughout the year.
Earlier this month, Pedroni gave his employees three weeks' vacation and then packed up all the equipment to move to Poland.
In Poland there are two businesses registered to Pedroni: Helkra from Wroclaw, which is to run production in Olawa, and also Atingo, registered in Olawa. There is no information why there are two registered entities.
The moving of the Firem Factory im such a way is big news in Italy and cause for outrage. And it should be in Poland as well. We need to see through the government and business propaganda which paints this as some sort of „victory” for Polish labour, that it will get new jobs. The type of work created in the Special Economic Zones (or anywhere in Poland for that matter) is grossly underpaid. We have lost our guarantees of an 8-hour day and more and more people are earning less than minimum wage due to the abusive use of trash contracts. And even the minimum wage is far too low.
What the Polish workers are being forced to do is be cheap, give up their labour rights, avoid unions. They are told that if they are not cheap enough, jobs will go elsewhere. And it is true. Because we are all just money-making machines which can be disposed of at any time, especially when the bosses find somewhere cheaper to produce, or get a better tax break or subsidy from the government.
Workers in the area of Olawa are completely desperate for work. The Firem workers have to understand this and not blame them for „stealing jobs”. But us workers in Poland have to understand our role in this mechanism and try to fight against it. The only solution can be seen in international labor struggle. The labor struggle in Europe is only as strong as its weakest link. And Poland, Romania and other countries – we are those weak links, where our working class is in such an unfavourable position that it is ready to work for practically nothing. And there go thousands and thousands of manufacturing jobs from countries paying higher wages.
Pedroni and his like should be seen as what they are and should know they are not welcome here. Maybe welcome by the Special Economic Zones, but not welcome by the people and certainly not welcome by us.