The so-called “Solidarity” union from a furniture factory in Bartoszyce has issued a scandalous statement in what seems to be a campaign organized by the bosses of Black Red White company to protect its image after the events of recent weeks.
These events revolve around the BRW Sofa fatory in Nidzica, which is wholly owned by Black Red White. This company has a large share of the local furniture market and is present in other E. European countries. Notably, its owner is a billionaire and one of the richest men in Poland. The firm is very profitable. But the pay is miserable and there have been a lot of problems in BRW Sofa. Workers from the factory wrote about some of the problems and it was awarded the Worst Employer of the Year award by ZSP.
Jarek, from the Furniture Makers' Union in the factory, was asked about the conditions there by a newspaper. He described an incident where the factory violated the Labor Code in the paper and was subsequently fired. For disciplinary reasons.
We had already seen this type of situation more than once. In such situations it is typical for companies to make up all sorts of bad things about the worker, retaliating against the worker by calling local businesses and “warning them”, getting people in the workplace who are willing to write statements or testify against the fired worker and using scare tactics against the other workers. We immediately decided to support Jarek, as did a couple of other unions, which sent protests to BRW.
Of course we needed to visit BRW anyway, since they won our “award”, but due to the situation, we decided to call for nationwide action against the company. We also pointed out that some comrades in nearby countries might want to visit them. They already have a bad reputation in Belarus for firing workers who wrote to a newspaper about the working conditions a few years ago.
When we called for the action, we started to get word from various sources that the company was panicked and trying to get workers to distance themselves from our fired friend. He had planned to take them to court, but they offered him a deal for dropping the matter. Can't blame him too much: court cases take forever and who wants to work for less than 300 euros a month with such bad bosses? Of course people do it anyway, because the factories are located in places which are extremely economically depressed.
ZSP got a letter from the Furniture Makers' Union about “the end of the dispute” and undoubtedly were pressured to call us off, but protests went on this weekend anyway. In Warsaw we met up not only with loads of security goons to keep us out of the shop, but also some people who probably were sent by management for “damage control”. Of course they could control nothing, because they just spewed management-think at unbearable speed, as if talking like a programmed robot could convince or fool anybody. And they couldn't stop us from picketing and leafleting their potential customers.
Today we saw the publication of a statement written by some brown nosers at “Solidarity” denouncing Jarek and ZSP. First of all, they denounce him for posters and fliers but all this was made by members of ZSP. They claim that nothing is true, everything is super... But what is worse is their techniques of trying to manipulate the consciousness of the workers. They claim that these things are an attack on EACH WORKER and equate the firm with each individual employee. They claim this shows the WORKERS in a bad light and that such bad publicity can hurt the firm and cause people to lose their jobs. (A union which has mastered and is administering the bosses' typical scare tactics.)
And what about the bossses? Nothing but glowing BS about the head of the factory in Nidzica from the brown nosers in Bartoszyce.
The document is a truly awful read and gives another big hint about what the fuck is wrong with the unions in Poland, about why we lost the 8-hour day, etc. Because reading the document, you get one message only: that the workers' interests and identical with the boss's interest and that we should be grateful to these people for giving us jobs.
At the end of the disgraceful statement, we get another hint about what makes some union careerists behave like this. They say that “Solidarity” will represent the interests of all the workers. The fact of the matter is that they do not represent all the workers, because a lot of the workers in the factories are members of the Furniture Makers' Union. So such a step can be seem as a very clear attempt to ingratiate themselves with the bosses and offer their services as “managers and representatives of the workers” to the firm. This looks pretty much like an attempt to undermine the other union.
Such sad and disgusting behaviour is all part of the union game for some who so unfortunately are responsible for ensuring the workers' rights in Poland. All they are ensuring is that the bosses take home their profits, without a peep of discontent from the underpaid, overworked and often cheated working class.