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(en) Poland, ZSP* Picket Against Exploitation at GreenWay Restaurant in Wroclaw

Date Wed, 17 Feb 2010 09:57:04 +0200

Green Way vegetarian restaurant in Wroclaw uses illegal, unpaid labour. The restaurant on Kuznica St. makes people work for free for at least a week - people are told they have to have such a trial period. Such practices are strictly forbidden by law and is just a way for the restaurant to get free labour and increase its profits. If the people are then hired, they usually have really bad working conditions and don't last long. - This is not the first problem at Green Way - we know of problems in at least 3 other cities and we made a lot of noise about this a few years ago. We thought maybe the owners of the restaurant would get the message, but apparently not. So ZSP is going to be campaigning for them to change their ways. ---- Green Way is a large chain of vegetarian restaurants which wants to be the vegetarian McDonalds. It decided to become a corporation, wanted to sell shares, have 100 restaurants in Poland and open up chains in 10 different countries - but so far this endeavour has been a failure. But it still advertises itself as the largest chain of vegetarian restaurants in the world.

The Green altercapitalists at Green Way were made aware of the problems of free labour, forced overtime, etc. a couple of years ago. Then they claimed that, as a franchise, there was "not much they could do" to ensure that workers' rights were respected at their restaurants. It was suggested that a code be adopted and included as part of the franchise contract, with contractual penalties for bad labour practices. Green Way however only cares about profit and is more interested in the look and location of their restaurants than the staff. This does not however prevent them from trying to capitalize on promoting "fair trade" and marketing themselves as some sort of ethical business.

ZSP in Wroclaw has been contacting workers and carrying out an informational campaign. In general ZSP is trying to inform people of their rights at work and encouraging organizing in areas which are typically not organized. Exploitation is particularly prevalent in jobs dominated by students and the marginally employed, and among those people, unfortunately there is not always awareness of the problems. Or, people are desperate for any job.

On February 12, there was a picket at the Green Way on Kuznica St. One of the former employees of Green Way, who was not paid, asked the owner about her salary and she claimed that "you never worked here" and called the police on the demonstrators. Such a determination on the part of Green Way to continue such practices and such sleaziness will be met with our determination to change things. This is just the beginning, In the meanwhile, we are going to return to the slogan "Green Way - No Way" and encourage people to stay away from these restaurants. More actions are planned around Poland and a few former employees will be joining.

* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist syndicate
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