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(en) Poland, rozbrat: The owners of cafes forget the Labor Code - an interview with an activist of Workers' Initiative on CMOs. The situation of the catering staff. [machine translation]
Fri, 7 Apr 2017 10:31:05 +0300
How did set up a committee gastronomic IP? ---- The idea of the establishment of the
commission was born after the outbreak of the conflict in "Krowarzywa", where in response
to the establishment of trade union committee at the plant owners tried to release the
entire crew and make a lockout. That issue has become highly social dimension of what was
certainly the owners, who tried to play on the fact that they come mostly from the same
environment, which exempted persons. ---- For a time in Poznan they lacked impetus to
establish the commission, although even held a meeting on the subject with the Warsaw
Commission Working in Gastronomy. Then there were more meetings with former Warsaw
burgerowni employees, who were trying to bring the situation which began to surround
myths. Finally, the case ended up in court work.
The impetus for the founding committee in Poznan was also the conflict, which was born in
a well-known Poznan vegan cafes. There he took such a big character, as in "Krowierzywej."
Then, in consultation with the workers we assumed another pub in Poznan Catering Workers
Commission in the framework of the union Workers' Initiative. To the half of the employees
joined a conflicted restaurant, which made it quite representative. In agreement with the
rest of the members and members of Workers' Initiative, after several meetings with the
owners of the restaurant, we were able to reach an agreement, which I then seemed
satisfied with both parties. Employees were promises to meet their demands, and the owner
of the settlement with employees and airing atmosphere that thickened long time.
What do you think are the main problems of employees and workers in the industry?
The main challenge in catering temporality. It's hard to convince someone to fight for the
improvement of their position, if everyone is there for a while. Even when it is not, and
it says so that is stuck in the temporariness for several years.
Employers often claim that "gastronomy has its own rules." So in fact it is. The hourly
rate is very low. This is translated by the owners, "that after tipping," and so often
that they take. Safety and working conditions leave much to be desired. Rarely do you find
a pub offering a contract of employment, and especially the agreement, which is the actual
recognized income and working time. Agreement outweigh order, extended indefinitely. It is
also not uncommon to work without any contract and insurance. It all adds up to is that to
be able to maintain, often have to work 300 hours per month, with no additional overtime
pay, vacations, and even disease. In this industry, it is not advisable suffering from.
You said earlier that "Krowarzywej" there was a conflict between the union and the
employer. As an employer in the catering trade unions react?
Employers on the information that in their plant running union usually react very
allergic, try by all means to find out who belongs to the association, often frightening
We plant the employer was surprised, even though the information of the connection was
given at the time when the conflict lasted. The same was in the "Krowarzywie." We must
remember that the relationship was not the cause of conflict, but rather its consequence.
When employees jointly stand on one side, employers do not have too much room for
maneuver. Initially, the foundation committee in Poznan, combine it with conversations,
bode very well. Relations with employers improved. Everything that has happened at the
plant, all activities were consulted with representatives of the union. Things were going
- as it seemed to us - in the right direction.
What was the reason that the employer eventually wanted you as a trade union activist, and
one more person, employment?
At some point, if the employer is tired, that some things need to consult with the union
and that the union is monitoring the situation at the plant, compliance with labor law.
For example, repeatedly I am asking colleagues whether they have properly paid overtime,
because earlier he was the big problem. It was also uncomfortable that people affiliated
to the committee were much more aware of their rights and they could not be used for many
things - such as the notorious kneading forcing overtime, or even avoiding the adoption
and respect the schedule at least seven days in advance.
It seems absurd, because the graphics should be at least monthly and annual ...
That's right. There were also erroneous calculation accounts. They released one of the new
workers just because they intervened on behalf of the committee. We noted that after 8
days of work there is still no agreement. Although after the intervention received a
contract for a few days, which later however, was not renewed. This was explained that the
girl is too weak!
Union intervened and watched. We have various writings intervention, received by the
employer. In the meantime, it left the job a few people from the committee (in catering
establishments turnover is very high), which encouraged bosses to seek hooks on the other
members, especially for me, as a protected member of the presidium of the committee. One
day after one of the general monthly meetings, which were one of the results of the
findings during previous conflicts, we received a letter addressed to the intention of
disciplinary dismissal of two members of the IP. As reason is given the fact that someone
reported that the jar with the resulting dessert has been affixed sticker groups
"Poznanians Against Hunter" and the dessert was to have an unusual smell, like she was
poured into the water after him, cucumbers. It happened in the hours we work. As it turned
out it was the wife of the hunter, which did not like it. Significantly, these stickers
were previously distributed among restaurant customers without opposition its owners. You
know - a significant portion of vegan customers do not sympathize with the hunters. Each
also could afford the sticker download. Where did the matter "water after cucumbers," I do
not know. It has been speculated that the cause could be stuck in the cap of a jar not
washed, previously used for another purpose.
It should be noted that at that moment with all employees, except us (for which the
reported intention of the exemption), was still only one person from the compound,
residing on sick leave. The rest released earlier the same. Of course, the intention
presented dismissal was unfounded and the relationship firmly refused to release. After
receiving the position relationship, and heads withdrew from indemnify us and joined the
urging for voluntary departure.
How did your settlement and why you decided on it?
After running out of / in the procedure still we went to work, doing her best, without
giving reasons for the subsequent repression. The situation was not the hand of the
employer, so the pressure was all the time, we both, myself and colleague, left
voluntarily. In many ways we tried to convince us to do so. In the end, analyzing the
position of the committee on the plant and the fact that "special treatment" we have
decided that we shall conclude an agreement with the employer. I quit after payment as
defined owner, two months severance pay.
While staying at this time on sick colleague did not get so far this possibility (as she
did not have union protection, it was not treated as I am). When she was on sick leave as
a union lost contact with her and we thought that he will not return to work. After her
return the employer stated that she has to leave, by mutual agreement, or that I have to
share their negotiated clearance! The reaction of the staff was that decided to stay in
this job because of its financial situation. Definitely this is not a comfortable solution
for her, considering the attitude of the owners. This case is still not closed for us as a
relationship and look forward to what will happen in the near future.
Do you see any chance for further action in the catering industry, the total of these
Although we have a lot more and more obvious examples of violations of workers' rights
than in other industries, "restaurateurs" forget about the existence of the Labor Code, it
is not "easy terrain." Mainly just because of the high turnover, temporariness and often a
lack of awareness of their rights among relatively young people just entering the labor
market. We intend to continue the activities of the commission and lead to better working
conditions in gastronomy. For this you need a relationship. Latest information reached us
that followed trying to undo earlier changes negotiated at the plant where I worked. In my
opinion this will lead to conflict again. We now have members and members in several pubs
in the town and all the time we are going to increase their numbers.
We invite you to join the union!
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