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(en) Poland, WORKERS' INITIATIVE: Bydgoszcz: employees of Municipal Water and Sewage Systems demand changes in the Collective Labor Agreement [machine translation]

Date Wed, 2 Jan 2019 08:09:16 +0200

OZZ IP picket in MWiK (Bydgoszcz, 16/10/2018) ---- Initiative Pracownicza together with other trade unions brought to the management of Miejskie Wodociagi i Kanalizacja w Bydgoszczy Sp. z o. o. an application for commencement of negotiations regarding changes to the collective labor agreement (CLA). In the absence of a response from the employer, a protest was held on October 16 at the company's headquarters. Over one hundred employees took part in it. There were also delegations from the association from Poznan and Warsaw. The protest supported the company's Solidarity. ---- Why MWiK employees want changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement? ---- To understand the intentions of the Workers' Initiative and the MWiK staff, first of all, all the transformations of the company's work system that have taken place over the last 15+ years have to be noted. To this end, we must go back to 2002, when trade unions signed the Collective Labor Agreement with the company's management. In the then accepted shape, a satisfying crew, it was in force only until 2008. At that time, under the pressure of information about the next stock market crashes and the expected collapse or economic slowdown, trade union representatives were convinced (the Employee Initiative did not work at MWiK then) to renegotiate the system. . The conversations took place in the atmosphere of the expected crisis. The government (PO-PSL coalition) has adopted the so-called anti-crisis package. The ZUZP has been radically changed to the disadvantage of employees.

Shortly afterwards, however, it turned out that Poland is a "Green Island" and no economic shock threatens us. Positive economic results for the years 2007-2009 were also received by MWiK. It clearly showed that the company was not worse, and reports of the global crisis were used to carry out social cuts. In total, for three years (2007-2009), PLN 11.5 million of net profit was generated. In 2008 (when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was in force from mid-year), the company obtained PLN 5.9 million net profit! Unfortunately, at least in part, reaching into the pocket of crew members.

Among the many disadvantageous amendments from the point of view of the interests of the crew, in 2008, inter alia, the following changes:
* change in overtime rules. The 2002 Collective Agreement provided that the first two overtime hours are entitled to an additional 50%, but for each additional overtime in the amount of 100%. After the changes from 2008, the rates were in force as in the Labor Code, so only 50% extra was paid for each extra overtime.
* according to the Collective Labor Agreement of 2002, the retirement and pension bonuses after 15 years of work amounted to 150% and gradually increased in proportion to the working time in MWiK, up to 600% after 40 years of work. In this case, in 2008, also provisions similar to those in the Labor Code were introduced, ie the severance pay was only one month's remuneration.
* according to the collective labor agreement from 2002, employees had "the right to an annual bonus" adequate to the results obtained by the company. After the change in 2008, the Management Board of the Company decides (in consultation with trade unions) about the payment of the prize and its amount.
There were many more disadvantageous changes for the crew members.

What do the crew demand today?

After ten years, it turned out that the Company significantly increased its profits, which now counts in tens of millions of zlotys annually (PLN 19 million in 2016 and PLN 23.2 million in 2017). This result is much better, even if inflation is taken into account. Of course, profits were disproportionately faster than the wages of MWiK employees. Under these circumstances, it seems that the company should "allow the profits" also the crew. Therefore, the Workers' Initiative made a proposal to amend a number of provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and to overturn the situation in part in 2002. The demands are really modest:
* Employee Initiative wants to introduce supplements and benefits that have been liquidated previously (brigade supplement, driver's allowance, home ambulance, etc.), as well as the right to an annual bonus (5% of MWiK's profit) and jubilee bonuses;
* wants higher severance payments than anticipated by the Labor Code in connection with retirement or invalidity;
* and wants the extra allowance (over the one in force in the Labor Code) to be opened for overtime work on Sundays and holidays in the amount of 20% of the hourly rate.
At present, when a lot of space is devoted to Poland in the problem of too low wages, also in the sphere of budgetary establishments (local government and state), the demands seem to be the most appropriate to the economic situation.

The Management Board of MWiK after many weeks of delaying the meeting with representatives of trade unions finally decided on them. It took place on November 22. In the opinion of the management board, a good financial situation is not a basis for changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the absence of a collective dispute excludes any negotiation talks or negotiations. Soon, the Employee Initiative will decide what to do next.

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