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(en) Poland, ozzip: Pandemic? Time for a trade union! [machine translation]

Date Sat, 9 May 2020 10:42:28 +0300

A month after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, you can see who the entrepreneurs and government want to blame for the costs of the crisis: on employees and employees. At the same time, most of us today have no head thinking about joining trade unions. This is a big mistake, because only unions can save us from hunger salaries and being fired. The Employee Initiative starts a campaign encouraging employees to organize and create factory and inter-company commissions in new workplaces. ---- A pandemic and a growing economic crisis may be the beginning of the most serious crisis in 30 years. This is just the beginning, but we can see who will pay for it. Instead of reaching into their own pockets and the savings earned in times of prosperity, many employers immediately started "layoffs" on "good morning". To make matters worse, solutions from the government's anti-crisis shield actually encourage employers to reduce wages and make working time more flexible - both in the private and public sectors.

Despite government assistance, many employers are announcing group layoffs. Those of us who stop working are exposed to a drastic deterioration in their working conditions. Salary reductions are becoming the norm. Working time is extended. In turn, the owners of factories and warehouses have no requirements for pandemic safety, they save on protection measures. The government is chasing walkers on the streets, but remains blind to much more serious violations of workplace regulations.

Employees terrified of losing their income often agree on even the worst solutions. It is understandable: In fear we have no strength and time to think about anything but survival. Contrary to this reflex, we should now organize ourselves in trade unions. Only united employees can stop the rising tide of crisis. Why? Trade unions are the only legally available force that entrepreneurs must reckon with. Unions have the ability to block some anti-employee solutions introduced by the government's "anti-crisis shield"; they also have the option of negotiating the conditions under which companies will introduce savings plans. Finally, they also have an impact on the collective dismissal procedure and can use various forms of pressure on the employer: from negotiations to strike actions.

If someone today says: "I do not have time to establish a trade union", then in response should hear: just today, as never before, you can NOT afford a lack of union on the plant.

If we want to avoid wage cuts, layoffs and over-work - let's organize and establish unions!

The National Trade Union Employee Initiative invites you to its ranks. You can join existing environmental, company or inter-company committees:[List of IP committees by industry][List of IP committees by voivodship]. You should also set up your own commission in your workplace. It's simple:
Just find over 10 people ready to set up a union, contact the IP National Commission and set up a factory commission. Instructions on how to do this can be found here:[LINK]

After establishing the commission, employees inform the employer that they have established a union and from now on:
- Any change in work and remuneration regulations requires negotiations with the union;
- The dismissal of persons having an indefinite employment contract requires consultation with the union;
- Applying for a budget subsidy under the 'crisis shield' requires prior agreement with the trade union;
- Changes in working time (working time system, length of the reference period, rates of allowances for night work or overtime) require negotiations with the trade union;
- Group dismissals must be consulted with a trade union;
- The employer is obliged to provide you with all information that is necessary for trade union activities (e.g. about the company's financial situation, planned changes in employment, etc.)

Importantly, people employed on junk contracts also have the right to join the ranks of committees . Union representatives also have the right to represent their interests, although pressure methods are very limited in relation to full-time employees.

One thing is certain: neither the government nor entrepreneurs will ensure that the crisis will bypass the world of work. Employees must fight for themselves.

In the attachments you will find 3 leaflets that you can print and give to your colleagues from your factory. They contain information about:
- What changes in the workplace when a trade union is formed?
- Why is it worth setting up a company commission in your workplace right now?
- How can a trade union counteract attempts to shift the costs of the current crisis to employees?

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