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(en) Poland, Workers Initiative: Garbage trucks are threatening with an air crash - an interview with LOT employees on the eve of the strike [machine translation]
Mon, 14 May 2018 08:28:34 +0300
Interview with LOT employees: Monika Zelazik, chairperson of ZZPPiL, chairman of the
Inter-Association Strike Committee and captain Adam Rzeszot, chairman of the
Communications Pilots Union of LOT Polish Airlines, was conducted the day before the
strike. ---- Who is responsible for the Trade Union of the Board and Air Personnel? ----
Monika Zelazik, chairperson of ZZPPiL, chairwoman of the Inter-union Strike Committee: We
associate flight attendants and pilots. In the ZZPPiL statute we have written that we can
not take anyone "from the land", but the statute can always be changed, this can be done
by the general meeting of ZZPPiL members. People call us, they want to sign in, especially
after recent disappointments with unions of employees on the ground. A dozen or so of our
members are pilots and stewardesses under so-called B2B, or "Business-to-Business" - it is
simply self-employment, or a junk agreement. In general, among stewardesses and pilots we
have a big problem with this form of employment. Soon we will reach the point where half
of the employees will be on junk contracts.
In other plants, B2B contracts allow you to affect working hours, hourly rates and other
working conditions. With us nothing at all: you get a contract and basically you have to
apply to it, there are no paid holidays. You just have 10 days in a row that you have to
take on a certain date. For the first two years, when they introduced B2B, it was so that
the staff flying on these contracts, had no rights under the Labor Code, even if the days
were free, people did not rest. Basically, the situation changed after several
high-profile incidents reported in the press, when employees employed under such
conditions (bodyguard and anesthesiologist) died while performing their official duties.
The President of LOT Rafal Milczarski applied the same pathology to those working in the
cockpit and on board. The multi-shift work system also means that you work on weekends and
all holidays, no one asks for our rights to a free Sunday. The provisions of the Labor
Code clearly indicate that it is enough to have one free Sunday a month.
Pilots on garbage? Is this not a threat to the entire crew and passengers?
Captain Adam Rzeszot, chairman of the Communications Pilots Union PLL LOT: As pilots all
the time we must be in great shape. Once a year, we are subjected to very detailed medical
research. Theoretically, we can not be in health dispensation. By employing junk, pilots
and stewardesses are forced to come in psychological or health incapacity to work. This
means that - and I am talking here with full responsibility - we are entering the area of
Absolutely, this can not be the case. Even an ordinary cold, which is not very bothersome
here on the ground, in an airplane at high altitude, when the pressure drops, results in
the fact that such a person may have perforation of the middle ear and simply loses
hearing. You can not afford anything like that. There are severe headaches during
elevation and descent, for example, with normal sinusitis, the pain is so strong that the
pilot can not take control of the plane. Such cases occur very often, in our profession
are chronic diseases, ear infections on-board workers have an average of once every
quarter. Currently, the amount of such dangerous cases is very high. When pilots are
employed in garbage, passenger safety is at stake.
Monika Zelazik: In addition to junk contracts, the president, as a proponent of
professionalism, delegates command to inexperienced people. These problems overlap. The
pilots had their own code, a set of pilots' rules, which prepared them at every stage of
their professional career to pilot an increasingly difficult type of aircraft. You had to
fly a lot of hours on one type and only after a few years, along with the growing
experience, went to a larger plane, which was considered in the hierarchy for a better
position. In the last month, two people were accepted from outside the company as the
first Boeing 787 aircraft officer.
This is a scandal and a threat not only to us but also to the safety of passengers. No
major line in the world, does not allow yourself such extravagance, it can be great
pilots, but never fly with this type of aircraft. Their training will be just as costly as
any other experienced pilot who has been working at LOT for several or several years. This
is just management through lack of imagination.
We already have managerial positions without a contract of employment, with 4 years of
experience, which, despite all sympathy, are unable to lead a team that is 20 years old!
Situations on the plane are always surprising and these people have no experience in
saving human life, they do not know how to behave in an emergency situation. This can not
be learned from books, you have to survive. We need very young employees, but imagine a
non-standard situation in which an employee is supposed to lead, who first has no
employment contract, and secondly, he lacks certain reflexes. Many times we provide
medical help, we give oxygen, we save human life. We have many cases when we use a
defibrillator, we restore the heart's action, this self-control results from experience.
The first time a man dies on your hands, and you are not a doctor, you are an ordinary
stewardess, unprepared for such an event. The management was to be a good change for all
of us, and it turns out that it is the worst because of lack of imagination and experience
in aviation. No school in the world, no paper is comparable with experience.
Do you want to introduce a payroll and collective agreement?
Monika Zelazik: This is something incomprehensible, paralyzing for someone who is 20 years
old in a closed tinned food, is constantly available to the employer, works on Sundays and
all holidays, gets up at any time of day or night (sleep deficit is the most noticeable in
this profession) got 3-3,500 gross.
In aircraft accidents, flying personnel are killed, not the company's management, we are
subjected to accidents at work, we are constantly exposed to diseases, passengers with
cough, runny nose, children with a virus and you are lying for a week, nobody will give
you money for it. They cancel the flight - you lose your raid and money, but only the
staff, not the board. The Management pays its four members with bonuses in the amount of
PLN 2.5 million.
We work 45 hours a month, which we have to fly, but it's 45 hours spent in the air, not on
the plane on the apron, which, for example, because of a storm waiting a few hours to
start. You can have, for example, 117 hours of work, but only 45 hours of flight. And for
that you get those 2.5 thousand. PLN 3,500 PLN 4,500 PLN gross - this is the basic amount.
People often spend 120 or 130 hours at work - it depends on your fixed work plan, for
which you have no influence. If you are sitting on the plane for 10 hours, for whatever
reason, sometimes you carry out all preparatory activities and after 10 hours this plane
will not break away from the ground, you will not receive anything - no remuneration. And
the president says that this is in your basic salary.
Same as "passenger" flights. Due to the increase in the number of connections and,
unfortunately, shoreline planning, we fly a lot as a passenger - this is the time for
which we do not pay, they think that we are at home then, not at work.
For example, they pay us for a one-way flight, we return for a passenger for free, or, for
example, we have 5 national episodes and one episode we perform as the crew is deified,
this flight is free. If, for example, we were earning 6,000 gross, no additives, then if
you are sick, you just do not come to work. And people really fly ill to earn this extra
paid time working in the air. Work on a chord, like a tape, no matter what state, you have
to be, because there will be nothing but basic pay.
Adam Rzeszot: I often encounter such a situation: when one of the pilots is ill, the
captain is obliged to prevent such a pilot from flying. And now this happens: there is no
roster, and they used to be. You have to pay for the duty, the company withdrew from it,
so the on-call time is telephonic. This situation usually occurs very shortly before the
flight begins, while we are in the briefing room and you have to quickly download someone
on this flight. It means that there will definitely be a delay. Secondly, we expose this
person to risky fast arrivals, often against the operating instructions, not to mention
the road code, because you have to hurry up. It is not me who should make such decisions,
there should be regulations. It used to be that the pilot did not have to take sick leave,
it was enough that he informed about his indisposition and then he was not able to perform
the flight in accordance with the law. It was the result of aviation medicine, which is
supposed to be, but somewhere next to us, because business simply eliminated it.
What has the conflict with the management of LOT started from now?
Monika Zelazik: Until 2013, the company's collective labor agreement functioned in the
company, it was spoken in 2013 by the president of Mikosz. Despite the fact that Mikosz
introduced framework savings guidelines, he received one and a half million zlotys from
the company. The framework guidelines have cut pay in the aviation division by over 30%.
Several brave people sued the company.
The conflict worsened when in April 2016 the current president of Milczarski began to
report to his employees to the Border Guard. They were given a telephone command to
carefully check the crews while passing through customs control at the airport, checked
their luggage, and inquired in detail about the procedure or stolen something from the
plane. The great roundup was supposed to win a big lap in April 2017 two days before
Easter. It turned out to be a great flop and discredit of the board, but despite the lack
of evidence, demonstration maneuvers took place, first an attempt to disciplinary
dismissal against two people, threats, insults, humiliation, image tarnish. As a result,
the police got some documents faked by the lawyer, delivery slip not from that day, this
man still works and represents the board, despite the case in the ethics committee and
many legal errors that are allowed in every letter addressed to trade unions. In this
company, social relations look tragic. The ethics committee is people who were held
accountable just before the ethics committee!
Why today (May 1) did not strike?
Monika Zelazik: The company's management is trying to divide us. I regret that this strike
did not take place, that's the decision made by the employees, and I respect the will of
the union members. Only yesterday people may have felt that all the possibilities for
agreement had not been used, the cowardly attitude of the tiny and unrepresentative
relationship between Solidarity and the other two unions, contributed to this decision.
The president was working hard on it, calling them, bribing, calling the chairman of the
work confederation, but this girl has eggs, she is a stewardess. There are no real trade
union activists on the ground. The leader of Solidarity 80 felt embarrassed about this
situation and could not believe what had happened, we had his support.
Earlier, several dozen employees "from the ground" came to us to vote in the strike
referendum, we were wondering how to do it. The observer of the board of the company was
stuck near the urn, like a thorn, intimidating people with telephone calls. The next day,
resigned employees phoned and apologized, said they had already been called to them, that
they could not take part in the strike referendum, because they were preparing to give
You have done the referendum, meanwhile, the president is haunting the media that the
court has ruled that the strike today would be illegal.
Monika Zelazik: Nonsense, no court verdict, it is an ordinary unlawful ruling that has not
even been granted to us or any of the unions. The court has not contacted us since April
6. The second issue, from 6 to 21 April, was a strike referendum (we did not think that as
many as 885 people will take part, it was a positive surprise for us). On April 25, we had
a general meeting and the results were announced. Announce the decision to strike (this is
the decision of employees) can one union. The president has poor advisors, and they have a
poor knowledge of the labor code and the law on trade unions.
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