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(en) Poland, Workers' Initiative: Exploitation and pedicure. People aged 60+ on the Poznan labor market [machine translation]

Date Mon, 7 Oct 2019 08:04:57 +0300

The Polish Trade Union Workers' Initiative intervened in the case of 20 people employed by external companies at porters in six facilities administered by the Poznan Board of Municipal Housing Resources. Although a number of serious irregularities have been identified, the city actually legitimizes exploitation. ---- Guarded facilities are clinics, buildings in which cultural institutions, public offices and offices operate. Sometimes empty. Property security agencies, which sometimes cooperate with related temporary work agencies, receive orders for their supervision. ---- Business carousel ---- Until August 28 last year, the employer of porters and porters was the company KAIO Sp. z o. o. She employed on "junk contracts", did not properly pay ZUS contributions, forced her to work 250 hours or more per month for rates lower than the minimum wage. In real terms, employees were paid PLN 8 net of tax per hour, i.e. approx. PLN 1 below the minimum. Employees were forced to declare that they agreed that the company would wash their uniforms for this difference. However, they were not even issued to them. In the summer, comments began to appear on various forums. A person who started to protest against this and revealed irregularities lost their job.

In the meantime, the tender for the provision of property security services in six facilities from August 28 to the end of 2018 was won by VISION GROUP Sp. z o. o. and employees were taken over by CAPREA as a temporary employment agency (and rented by VISION GROUP). The employees, however, were convinced that behind the changing companies stands the same arrangement as before. Despite the name change, the same coordinators or people settling working hours (accounting) contacted them regarding formal matters. This time, the requirement to win the tender was to employ employees for employment contracts. However, CAPREA only hired employees and employees for 1/16 of a full-time position, and the remaining part of the work provided was still subject to civil law contracts. This was inconsistent with the terms of the tender and the contract with ZKZL.

After protests by the Employee Initiative at the end of November 2018, ZKZL terminated the contract with VISION GROUP. For the period of a month and a half, employees and security employees were taken over by PEWNOSC. The success of the union was that a person who had previously disclosed abuse and who was deprived of employment was recruited to his previous position. On the other hand, the termination of the ZKZL contract with the VISION GROUP resulted in employees and employees not being paid for October and November 2018.

Helpless inspection, delayed the prosecutor's office

The Labor Inspectorate, notified of all this, proved helpless. PIP has repeatedly attempted to contact CAPREA Sp. z o. o. at the company's headquarters, however, they proved unsuccessful. "In addition, requests were submitted to the employer by post requiring them to appear and produce the documents indicated therein." Also without effect. There is concern - the Labor Inspector wrote to the association - "that the behavior of the employer is aimed at deliberately and intentionally avoiding carrying out an inspection". PIP, like the Employee Initiative before, notified the prosecutor's office. The hearings of witnesses of abuse did not start until May 2019. To this day, we do not know what the final findings and decisions of the prosecutor's office in this case are.

The activities of the PIP and the prosecutor's office did not prevent CAPREA from responding to this situation by a letter addressed to former employees, in which ZKZL is responsible for the lack of payments for October and November 2018.

In the meantime, porters and porters remained on January 15 this year. taken over by another company - SPQ. Because this change was taking place in a hurry, several previously injured employees were not admitted to work. In other words, they lost their wages first and eventually their jobs. This resulted in further interventions of the Employee Initiative at ZKZL.

This scenario repeated itself in June, when another tender was settled, but it was only possible in relation to one object - at Kórnicka Street. This time the WOLF company won and more people lost their jobs. The last act took place in September, when the tender for the remaining five facilities was once again announced. Four facilities were taken over by PEWNOSC and one by HUNTERS.

Most employees from the current cast lost their employment. CERTAINTY released rebellious porters and porters on the pretext of employing only persons with a disability certificate. However, the HUNTERS representative was simply to state that he always exchanges half of the staff from the acquired facility. Ultimately, more than 3/4 porters and porters who had previously protested against working conditions and who had not been paid for October and November 2018 lost their jobs.

Crawling lockout

Since autumn 2018, ZKZL has imposed on companies the necessity of employment under employment contracts (why so late?) And ensuring at least a minimum wage. The assessment of the offer of security companies began to depend not only on the price of the service offered, but also on the amount of employees' remuneration. However, many provisions of the Labor Code have been and are still being violated, insecure employment (four employers have changed for a year), minimum wage or slightly higher. It must be said, however, that in relation to what KAIO and CAPREA did, the situation improved - under the pressure of employees and the relationship, the greatest pathology was eliminated.

From the very beginning, the union demanded that porters and porters be employed directly. ZKZL, or more broadly the city, does not want to guarantee this working group the same working conditions as other employees in municipal institutions. On the contrary, it is determined to maintain outsourcing, the most shameful and unfair form of labor exploitation. There is no doubt that this is a kind of "crawling lock". In fact, not only companies providing property protection services in Poznan, but ultimately also ZKZL, wanted to silence rebellious porters and porters.

ZKZL advocates outsourcing for two arguments. First, he argues that giving up this form of outsourcing would force him to maintain an "intervention group," usually called porters and porters, when "something is going on" on the premises. This is a completely unconvincing argument. Some security companies have "intervention groups" basically only on paper. They would have to travel, for example, from Szczecin, which - as we guess - makes no sense. It is also unknown why porters and porters should not call the Poznan City Guard or the Police, especially since we are talking about the protection of public facilities.

Secondly - ZKZL maintains that it cannot impose on whom companies to employ, and with low unemployment, possibly those who are laid off will not have a problem finding a job. It should be noted here that the Labor Code requires equal treatment in employment. This not only means that you can not unfairly differentiate working conditions for individual employees, but also clear employment conditions should apply, giving equal opportunities to everyone. Especially if we are finally talking about public funds for salaries. Therefore, you cannot arbitrarily recruit anyone you want, at the discretion of the head of a private security company. Finally, the representatives of ZKZL, who, arguing in this case, refer to the mechanisms of the labor market, apparently do not understand all its aspects. Have they not heard

For breathlessness

Here we come to the main conclusion. Working at porters are mainly seniors and seniors, often over 60 years old, pensioners. The motive for starting work is primarily low benefits and pensions, which force you to continue working. Suffice it to say that the average pension in Poland currently (Q1 2019) is PLN 2237 gross (PLN 1853 net). Women receive even less - on average 1845 PLN (1536 PLN net). You do not need to convince anyone that this is a meager income, and yet we are talking about the average. More and more people do not even achieve the minimum pension (currently PLN 1,100 gross). In 2020, this will apply to approx. 315 thousand people, several times more than five years ago. In 2025, this group is estimated at 500,000. people.

As a result, today, according to ZUS data, about 747 thousand retirees are working. In turn, according to the Central Statistical Office, there are even more - over a million (according to data from 2018 - without taking into account "black employment"). Every fifth pensioner has to earn extra. This number is growing rapidly.

The liberal narrative - regarding the amount of pensions - focuses primarily on the problem of retirement age (60 for women and 65 for men). The solution is to be simple - you have to work longer to have higher pensions. It would mean getting everyone working to work even up to 67 years of age, preferably breathless. Meanwhile, low pensions are the result of the situation on the labor market over the past three decades: high unemployment for most of this period, too low wages, junk contracts from which little or no contributions were paid. As a consequence, pensions fall relatively the most for those groups of employees who have been on the post-transformation labor market for the longest time.

Viva seniors

Today retirees and pensioners are a huge "reserve army of labor", which at the same time most often occupies a specific segment of the labor market. Suffice it to say that, according to some data, only 40% of them work on the employment contract. It is not possible for all groups to continue working in "their" profession - due to age and health conditions (e.g. construction). Concierge is one of those positions, which - realistically speaking - often does not require exceptional physical fitness. Security companies have been using seniors for years, and it benefits - through outsourcing - not only the private sector but, as it turns out, also the public sector. Local governments, state institutions, universities, public media etc. save on outsourcing.

In the labor market segment, where the elderly operate, it is not easy to find a job. Low salaries are the rule, "junk contracts" are commonplace, and violation of employee rights is widespread. Meanwhile in Poznan - we read on the city's pages - the oldest residents "can use the help of a beautician for free, who will take care of the nails at their feet. The city self-government provided funds for this purpose. (...) Mobile toenail care is another service available in the capital of Greater Poland as part of the Poznan Viva Senior package. It can be used by Poznan residents who are over 80 and are in a difficult life situation. " Instead of fighting against exploitation, local authorities offer pedicures to seniors. And on condition that they live to misery up to eighty.

Jaroslaw Urbanski / Poznan Inter-Enterprise Commission

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