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(en) Poland, Workers' initiative: Social Congress of Women - postulates [machine translation]

Date Mon, 9 Apr 2018 09:01:26 +0300

The Social Congress of Women took place on March 3 in Poznan. It was initiated by Poznan nurseries, cultural institutions and tenants from Warsaw and Poznan. The organization of the Congress resulted from the necessity to extend the struggle for higher wages and lower rents, which we jointly deal with on the basis of trade unions and tenants' associations. This fight is often a direct answer to the anti-woman policy pursued by the local government. We treat current attempts to tighten the abortion law as a supplement to the same anti-woman policy, but this time implemented at the central level. Therefore, we also go out on the street because we are part of a wider women's movement. The list of postulates below is not a direct response to government attempts to limit access to proper medical care in the event of unwanted pregnancy. However, the lack of such care results in a deterioration of our economic position, and this raises our opposition.

1. Shortening the length of weekly working time to 35 hours without decreasing the wage.

In addition to the fact that employees are struggling with professional duties, to make matters worse, they do free work at home. In fact, they work much more than 40 hours a week. Meanwhile, the continuous increase in labor productivity in the economy allows shortening of working time without reducing wages. If the working hours are not shortened, only the business gains growth in productivity, and the working people lose. In addition, the increase in labor productivity without a common shortening of the working week in the long run causes unemployment and poverty. The average annual working time in Poland is about 500 hours longer than in Germany and is one of the longest in Europe, which proves our overwork. We need more time off work in which we can realize our own needs. In the case of female nurseries and other employees in the care sector, it is necessary to shorten the working time to 25 hours per week. This level is currently available to pre-school caregivers and allows for proper rest.

2. Increasing wages and employment on employment contracts in all facilities financed from the local government or state budget.

Increasing the tasks of institutions financed from the self-government or state budget, while limiting the number of posts, increases the workload. However, there is no increase in wages for more work. Low wages, which are common in municipal institutions, force us to "earn" out of full-time work, on weekends and during holidays. This work is sometimes done at the same employer but in a different scope of responsibilities. Overworking causes health deterioration: injuries, accidents at work, chronic diseases, occupational diseases. These problems deepen employment for junk contracts and outsourcing, thanks to which the institutions cut the costs of their activities, reduce wages and worsen working conditions. In addition, junk contracts are used to foster divisions between workers for the "better" and "worse",

3. Increasing the number of places in day care centers and kindergartens and reducing fees for their services.

Many years of underfunding and cuts in public spending, which reduced access to nurseries, kindergartens and other care institutions, directly hit women. Their free or low-paid job fills the gaps caused by limited access to services, food or poor housing. In practice, for example, older women must work for their adult children, taking care of their own grandchildren. The underdevelopment of public care institutions, eg for children and the elderly, in fact means that women are being hired to work in households.

4. Including the time allocated for commuting to the place of work in the total time of the working day.

The effort related to travel to work is not treated as a job, although many establishments operate only by employing people who do not live in their immediate environment. These people are forced to long commute because of the lack of employment opportunities at home. Several hours of commuting and working full-time make it impossible to carry out all caring duties at home, not to mention the right rest. The use of employee transport, often subject to control and various regulations, for example in buses transporting employees to Amazon's warehouses, can not be used for meals or drinks. Using public transport exposes us to fees, which is an absurd situation. Not only is getting to the plant is a waste of time and it is only to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, we still have to pay for it. As a result, we give our bosses a few to several hours of our lives for free every week, and we still have to pay for it many times.

5. Increasing social control over finances and self-government activities.

The city's finances are not transparent to most of its residents. The policy of tightening the belt is justified by economic reasons, but the problem is not the lack of funds but the way they are divided. Too low wages in institutions paid for by the local government actually result from the adoption of specific political priorities and not from the "tight budget". Expenditures on social welfare, communal services or culture do not bring great profits to business, as a rule they are treated as a loss, and their underfunding is the norm. On the other hand, the construction of roads or stadiums makes it possible to transfer millions to private pockets and, as a consequence, these expenses are referred to as "development investments". Local politicians in their decisions, for example regarding the financing of cultural institutions, are guided by their own taste or political trends. In the case of care institutions, the priority is to maintain their inefficiency, which can always serve as a pretext to close them. We waste our time thinking about the structure of the budget, while politicians use it as a tool to take the poor and give the rich. The more obscure the structure of the budget, the easier it is to derive millions from it, which reach a few.

6. Enabling trade unions to control labor standards.

Lack of detailed provisions in the Labor Code regarding labor standards enables entrepreneurs to increase its intensity according to their own needs. Standards, performance indicators, the number of products per hour to be performed at the assembly lines, or the number of children in groups in the case of nursery nurses, often outstrips the physical capacity of the employees. We demand workers' control over the regulation of standards, through trade unions or crew representations. Standards can not grow without justification (without introducing technological improvements). We demand that the exemptions be discontinued on the pretext that the standard will not be met. Labor productivity standards must take into account the needs and capabilities of employees (especially the elderly or the disabled).

7. Planning work time (eg setting schedules, changes or breaks at work) according to the needs of the employees.

Flexible employment is even more stiffening entrepreneurs in terms of work time planning. A large part of the plants operate in a 24-hour mode, although there is no other justification than increasing profits (we are not talking about sectors that meet current needs such as health care). Night work, forced overtime, additional duties, longer and longer billing periods destroy our physical and mental health. Especially in the case of night work, we demand adjusting the working time to our needs (ie the possibility of limiting its length and the possibility to choose working hours), as well as scheduling work time at least three months in advance. Unstable hours of work strike with redoubled power in parents and people taking care of the elderly or disabled. Short-term agency agreements (eg two-week or monthly), where you work half a year or more, are used to transfer business risk to working people. These contracts result in extreme uncertainty and over-strength work (even when the disease is going through) to "earn" another contract. In addition, breaks that are necessary to be able to work all day work should be entirely devoted to rest, not for the implementation of additional business tasks or to reach the place of rest.

8. Universal health insurance for all persons residing in Poland. The abolition of limits on specialist medical services.

Widely prevailing unstable employment and the associated frequent periods of unemployment make access to free, specialist treatment and rehabilitation difficult. Only persons employed under a contract of employment may use the current social security system. People employed on junk contracts or not registered as unemployed have to pay a fortune for private medical care and medicines. This condition combined with low earnings forces them to work beyond strength. Lack of funds for treatment and prophylaxis causes, especially among older people, a rapid deterioration of health. Costs resulting from the destruction of health through work should be borne by the state and entrepreneurs, not workers who are often forced to treat themselves and their relatives with home methods. Regardless of whether we are employed under a contract of employment and whether we have Polish citizenship, the compulsion of work impresses on our health. Therefore, we require permanent, and not limited, access to medical care.

9. Universal retirement at the minimum wage level.

A sudden drop in the amount of income after retirement forces the seniors, if their health allows it, to continue working. This problem affects especially lonely people and women who are usually less well paid during their working life, so they get lower pensions. Too low pensions make it impossible to pay rent or buy necessary drugs, which in the long run condemns older people to eviction or early death.

10. Developing communal housing as an alternative to commercial housing, not aid.

The basic problem of today's housing policy boils down to the fact that in the last two decades the structure of housing construction has been gradually changing. In 2010, socialized entities gave away only 6.6% of all new apartments to use, while developers gave them over 40%. The decline in the importance of socialized housing is particularly evident in cities. It is in them that developers today put in use 60-65% of total dwellings (in 1995 - only 6.3%). At the same time, the privatization of municipal housing resources and a sharp drop in their number are taking place. The NIK report revealed that municipal authorities meet the demand for social housing at a level of 1-2% per year! The development of property development and the collapse of socialized housing, including communal housing, only favors large investors, construction companies and banks financing private construction. The lack of competition has led to the monopoly of several developers, which means over-inflating property prices for sale as well as rental prices. The aim of counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real estate market and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy, based on the implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide decent housing, prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities. The aim of counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real estate market and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy, based on the implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide decent housing, prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities. The aim of counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real estate market and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy, based on the implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide decent housing, prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities.

11. Stop the reprivatization of real estate and repair of social harm caused by it.

Reprivatization involves taking pre-war assets into private hands, including the municipal housing stock. In many cities, these properties were created for public loans. In Warsaw, after the war, they were rebuilt thanks to free and semi-free work, deductions from employee salaries across the country and materials from the demolition of other cities. Like once, "the whole nation was rebuilding the capital", now we are all shifting to a fortune for several new owners of reprivatized properties. In addition to the reprivatization of thousands of tenements, the authorities devote tens of billions of zlotys to financial compensation to pre-war owners. Putting such large funds out of the capital's budget was possible thanks to the introduction of a series of antisocial reforms: the town hall privatized school canteens and the thermal energy system (SPEC), increased rents in municipal apartments and prices of public transport tickets. For this reason, reprivatization appears to be the largest plunder in the history of post-war Warsaw. The authorities, however, avoid responsibility for social harms resulting from this process. Repair of wrongs should consist in: verification of all property acquisitions, restoration of their city, possibility of returning to the municipal premises for all tenants from re-privatized apartments, withdrawal of privatization and increases in public services as well as reconstruction and extension of the municipal housing stock.

12. Debt relief for tenants waiting for the allocation to social premises and forced to pay so-called penal rent (compensation for non-contractual use of the premises).

Because the housing stock of communes is too small, the residents, after obtaining the right to social housing, are not able to use it. At that time, the existing (mostly private) premises still live, and the municipality pays monthly compensation to private owners. Subsequently, the municipalities demand compensation from these residents. No solution to the so-called matter Regress (recourse compensation) means that the shortage of social housing is paid by tenants. In fact, the right to housing does not apply to them and they are burdened with thousands of debt that can not be repaid. The mere expectation of a social housing court adjudicated by the court often lasts for over ten years. Consequences of such a state of affairs can not be borne by a tenant, especially that their right to social housing is due to low income and poor financial situation.

13. Introduction of a total prohibition of eviction to the so-called temporary premises, which are only a camouflaged form of eviction on the pavement. The introduction of a total ban on the treatment of homeless centers run by NGOs and municipalities as substitute accommodation.

The so-called. Temporary premises for evictions are usually rooms in employee hotels paid for by the city authorities for no longer than a month. Therefore, most often after one month, persons evicted are sent to homeless centers anyway. Sometimes the legal guardian of partially incapacitated persons, instead of defending his charges, makes it easier for the owner to make an eviction. Homeless centers are, as a rule, a shelter in crisis situations and so should be treated. Under no circumstances may they perform the function of substitute or social housing.

14. Adjustment of the income criterion when granting municipal and social housing, abolition of the yardage criterion and introduction of rules for granting social housing that meets the real needs of residents and residents of municipalities.

If the commune authorities do not want to meet the obligation to provide an appropriate number of municipal and social premises, then they define the criteria for allocating apartments in such a way as to limit the taking into account of the applications of a large part of the needy. The income criterion eliminates people who earn too much income in order to apply for the allocation of a communal flat. On the other hand, these people earn too little to rent a flat on the market. Another problem is the threshold, which hits people with low incomes "trapped" in relatively large rental apartments. Ultimately, for example, in Poznan, changing the criteria for considering applications resulted in an increase in their number and revealed a large group of those in need.

15. Protection of "francomatics". Protection of persons who, due to indebtedness and inability to repay mortgage loans, have lost their right to their only apartment occupied on the basis of property rights; as a result of the transfer of ownership, they become homeless and they are not covered by the provisions of the Act on the protection of tenants' rights (casus, the so-called frankowiczes).

According to some data, a group of indebted so-called frankkowiczów has about 560 thousand. people. The problem of debt associated with the purchase of an apartment applies to entire families, meaning a much larger number of people. In 2000, the amount of mortgage loans taken by Poles and Poles in total amounted to approx. PLN 9.5 billion, currently it is approx. PLN 378 billion. Within a dozen or so years, the indebtedness of this title increased by nearly 3900%. Often, indebted families due to the cessation of loan repayment lose the right to the occupied premises, which is the only place where they can meet their housing needs. Loss of financial liquidity of households is mainly caused by high mortgage installments (often previously denominated in francs). The reasons for this are different, e.g. loss of work due to illness or other circumstances independent of debtors. In the case of a lack of liquidity of repayments, there is a bidding and loss of the right to the occupied premises. The new owner, on the basis of the act of acquisition and misappropriation of the apartment, may, without having to bring the case to court, immediately start the proceedings with the participation of the bailiff, who automatically evicts his order.

16. Connecting all municipal dwellings to every, extending tenants forced to heat up by electricity and introducing real energy price regulation.

Despite the fact that electric heating is the most expensive form of heating, in Warsaw alone, almost 70 percent. buildings managed by the commune are not connected to the heating network. The condition for obtaining the allocation of a municipal flat is low earnings, but the costs of electric heating are many times higher than the thresholds of earnings determined by the town hall. This situation is particularly difficult for working mothers who are unable to save on heating, because they have to ensure the right conditions for children. For the negligence of city authorities in terms of providing access to cheap energy, they pay tenants, while officials hide their heads in the sand. Until the apartments are connected to what should be eased to tenants condemned to drastic heating costs, abolishing rental fees. Because the disproportionate heating costs cause the tenants' debt and evictions, in their case it is also necessary to annul rent debts and stop the eviction. Currently existing energy additives reach 2 percent. real costs of electric heating, and therefore electricity surcharges should be started. The privatization of the energy sector is the reason for the continuous rise in electricity prices, which should be subject to much more regulation.

17. Introduction of housing support programs for foreigners in economic austerity, refugees and asylum seekers.

The Wielkopolska Association of Tenants from 2013 is fighting for the right to housing for Roma migrants who, due to poor financial situation, live, for example, abandoned garden arbors. The Roma do not have the possibility to register their stay in Poland. Consequently, municipal institutions and private entities more often apply illegal displacements to them and break the Act on the Protection of Tenants' Rights. Some municipalities in Poland are responsible for the displacement of Roma in the European Court of Human Rights. Resettlement and illegal demolition are associated with expenditure from urban budgets that could be spent on housing development. People who are waiting for a decision on obtaining asylum or other form of protection, can not take up legal employment in Poland. In addition, they do not have the possibility of obtaining basic protection in the form of a flat.

18. Introduction of regulations regarding domestic violence, consisting in the fact that the perpetrator of violence is obliged to leave the apartment.

The existing forms of protection of victims of violence are not sufficient in terms of protection of tenants' rights. Often victims of violence are forced to leave the apartment and many months or many years of waiting for court judgments and the possibility of applying for housing assistance.

19. Introduction of a total ban on the construction of housing substandards in the form of social containers and barracks, and their use as social flats or temporary premises for the poorest.

In Poland, approximately 5.5 million people live in substandard conditions. In 2012, the Central Statistical Office, in turn, stated that the average wage of Poland allows the acquisition of approx. Half a square meter of housing. It's almost two times less than ten years ago. Thousands of people are waiting in the queue for the allocation of social and communal premises, while municipalities are increasingly implementing sub-standard apartments in the form of barracks, containers or in plywood houses. These activities often break the provisions of the construction law. What's more, locating substandard housing estates on isolated city outskirts increases social segregation. "Social ghettos of poverty" are also a scare used against the so-called "Difficult tenants."

20.Crating the guilty of murder of Jolanta Brzeska and guilty of blurring the traces of this crime (policemen and prosecutors).

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