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(en) Poland, Wroclaw, ZSP* has declared Boycott of vegetarian McDonalds

Date Wed, 24 Feb 2010 11:42:37 +0200

Making people work without contracts on unpaid trial periods, forced overtime and shit work conditions were exposed in Green Way vegetarian restaurants in at least 4 locations (See:http://libcom.org/news/green-way-vegetarian-restaurant-doesnt-pay-workers-10022010)
over the last couple of years. ---- During a recent picket of a Wroclaw restaurant where people were hired and worked illegally without pay, a former worker of the restaurant confronted the owner who simply lied and claimed the women had never worked their. Yesterday and today, a couple of workers and comrades visited Green Way to demand back pay and copies of contracts proving that they worked there. They were offered money under the table, but with no written contract or evidence of having worked there - so they refused, demanded a copy of a contract and went back today.

Today the owners were more agressive, threatening to sue us if articles about them do not disappear off the internet within three days. Also, they showed on the computer some "statement" written by "satisfied workers" which presumably they will try to print to convince people that there is "no problem" in their restaurants.

The reaction of the overall management of the franchise has been both to paint this as an isolated incident (which it is not) but at the same time pretend that, since it is a franchise, they cannot control what goes on in the restaurants. This is not true since it the owners of the company pay close attention to details such as interior design of the restaurants, menu and location, making sure the franchise holders conform. The restaurant has not given any concrete sign about what they will do with the situation.

ZSP has declared a boycott on the restaurant, which does not even follow the labour law, let alone provide good conditions. It is boycotting the whole chain.

Last week it published the following statement:

According to our information we can say without any doubt that at the Green Way restaurant on Kuznica St. in Wroclaw, workers' rights were violated repeatedly. Everything indicates that the people running the restaurant think nothing about workers and just try to make as much profit off them as they can.

Since January at least 6 people worked in that restaurant for free. Taking into acount the scale of short-term hires and the fact that the place is always looking for new workers, we suppose that free labour is a constant source of profit for the owners. It is scandalous that they do not even try to present working conditions to their "employees". People who start off working for free do not know what kind of contract they might sign or even what salary they can expect. The bosses evb claim that setting a hourly rate is unneccessary and warn that salaries will be paid at the owners' discretion. Workers are also not entitled to get paid for work performed after closing time. [/i]

The free trial period is of an undetermined length, and people who go through this trial are told that the more hours they worked, the faster they will start to get paid. At first the free work is called "a trial period", then "training" and then they even can write a fake mandate contract for "working in the storeroom", written in one copy, with the warning that the amount of money written on it will not be paid.

One of the workers there was told that she cannot get a work contract because she didn't work full-time. However, this was not true and contradicts the law. It is illegal to work on a specific work contract since the work done is as an employee, with the work done on the premises, under the supervision of the owners. So this is just a way to deny workers their statutory benefits guaranteed under the Labour Law. We know cases where even such a contract is not signed when people started work.

In addition, during working hours, which sometimes last 11 hours, there is no break - also a violation and workers are often harrassed not to spend time resting, eating or drinking.

We would like to stress that even according to the law, which in no way sufficiently defends the interests of workers against the owners, a contract or a statement confirming the intent to hire somebody must be signed by the first day of work. This same law states that in this type of work it should be a work contract which guarantees not only an hourly wage, (with extra for overtime), but also paid vacation and sick leave.

Because this is not the first situation when he learned about violations of workers' rights in Green Way, we suppose that the board of the company cannot guarantee workers good conditions or is simply not interested in this. As a workers' organization, we cannot accept this. We are not interested in PR statements - we are interested in a concrete solution. We therefore demand that the board find an effective and permanent solution to the problem of exploitation in Green Way restaurants. This could be done, for example, by signing a annex to franchise agreements which would make it a breach of contract to violate workers' rights which would lead to dissolution of the franchise agreement. This would be a sign to us that Green Way cares about its clients eating ethically. If there is no resolution of this problem, we will call a boycott of Green Way.

Since this time we have heard nothing - accept threats of being sued. So the boycott begins.

Zwia;zek Syndykalistów Polski
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist syndicate
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