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(en) Poland, Workers' initiative: Social Congress of Women - postulates [machine translation]
Mon, 9 Apr 2018 09:01:26 +0300
The Social Congress of Women took place on March 3 in Poznan. It was initiated by Poznan
nurseries, cultural institutions and tenants from Warsaw and Poznan. The organization of
the Congress resulted from the necessity to extend the struggle for higher wages and lower
rents, which we jointly deal with on the basis of trade unions and tenants' associations.
This fight is often a direct answer to the anti-woman policy pursued by the local
government. We treat current attempts to tighten the abortion law as a supplement to the
same anti-woman policy, but this time implemented at the central level. Therefore, we also
go out on the street because we are part of a wider women's movement. The list of
postulates below is not a direct response to government attempts to limit access to proper
medical care in the event of unwanted pregnancy. However, the lack of such care results in
a deterioration of our economic position, and this raises our opposition.
1. Shortening the length of weekly working time to 35 hours without decreasing the wage.
In addition to the fact that employees are struggling with professional duties, to make
matters worse, they do free work at home. In fact, they work much more than 40 hours a
week. Meanwhile, the continuous increase in labor productivity in the economy allows
shortening of working time without reducing wages. If the working hours are not shortened,
only the business gains growth in productivity, and the working people lose. In addition,
the increase in labor productivity without a common shortening of the working week in the
long run causes unemployment and poverty. The average annual working time in Poland is
about 500 hours longer than in Germany and is one of the longest in Europe, which proves
our overwork. We need more time off work in which we can realize our own needs. In the
case of female nurseries and other employees in the care sector, it is necessary to
shorten the working time to 25 hours per week. This level is currently available to
pre-school caregivers and allows for proper rest.
2. Increasing wages and employment on employment contracts in all facilities financed from
the local government or state budget.
Increasing the tasks of institutions financed from the self-government or state budget,
while limiting the number of posts, increases the workload. However, there is no increase
in wages for more work. Low wages, which are common in municipal institutions, force us to
"earn" out of full-time work, on weekends and during holidays. This work is sometimes done
at the same employer but in a different scope of responsibilities. Overworking causes
health deterioration: injuries, accidents at work, chronic diseases, occupational
diseases. These problems deepen employment for junk contracts and outsourcing, thanks to
which the institutions cut the costs of their activities, reduce wages and worsen working
conditions. In addition, junk contracts are used to foster divisions between workers for
the "better" and "worse",
3. Increasing the number of places in day care centers and kindergartens and reducing fees
for their services.
Many years of underfunding and cuts in public spending, which reduced access to nurseries,
kindergartens and other care institutions, directly hit women. Their free or low-paid job
fills the gaps caused by limited access to services, food or poor housing. In practice,
for example, older women must work for their adult children, taking care of their own
grandchildren. The underdevelopment of public care institutions, eg for children and the
elderly, in fact means that women are being hired to work in households.
4. Including the time allocated for commuting to the place of work in the total time of
the working day.
The effort related to travel to work is not treated as a job, although many establishments
operate only by employing people who do not live in their immediate environment. These
people are forced to long commute because of the lack of employment opportunities at home.
Several hours of commuting and working full-time make it impossible to carry out all
caring duties at home, not to mention the right rest. The use of employee transport, often
subject to control and various regulations, for example in buses transporting employees to
Amazon's warehouses, can not be used for meals or drinks. Using public transport exposes
us to fees, which is an absurd situation. Not only is getting to the plant is a waste of
time and it is only to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, we still have to pay for it. As a
result, we give our bosses a few to several hours of our lives for free every week, and we
still have to pay for it many times.
5. Increasing social control over finances and self-government activities.
The city's finances are not transparent to most of its residents. The policy of tightening
the belt is justified by economic reasons, but the problem is not the lack of funds but
the way they are divided. Too low wages in institutions paid for by the local government
actually result from the adoption of specific political priorities and not from the "tight
budget". Expenditures on social welfare, communal services or culture do not bring great
profits to business, as a rule they are treated as a loss, and their underfunding is the
norm. On the other hand, the construction of roads or stadiums makes it possible to
transfer millions to private pockets and, as a consequence, these expenses are referred to
as "development investments". Local politicians in their decisions, for example regarding
the financing of cultural institutions, are guided by their own taste or political trends.
In the case of care institutions, the priority is to maintain their inefficiency, which
can always serve as a pretext to close them. We waste our time thinking about the
structure of the budget, while politicians use it as a tool to take the poor and give the
rich. The more obscure the structure of the budget, the easier it is to derive millions
from it, which reach a few.
6. Enabling trade unions to control labor standards.
Lack of detailed provisions in the Labor Code regarding labor standards enables
entrepreneurs to increase its intensity according to their own needs. Standards,
performance indicators, the number of products per hour to be performed at the assembly
lines, or the number of children in groups in the case of nursery nurses, often outstrips
the physical capacity of the employees. We demand workers' control over the regulation of
standards, through trade unions or crew representations. Standards can not grow without
justification (without introducing technological improvements). We demand that the
exemptions be discontinued on the pretext that the standard will not be met. Labor
productivity standards must take into account the needs and capabilities of employees
(especially the elderly or the disabled).
7. Planning work time (eg setting schedules, changes or breaks at work) according to the
needs of the employees.
Flexible employment is even more stiffening entrepreneurs in terms of work time planning.
A large part of the plants operate in a 24-hour mode, although there is no other
justification than increasing profits (we are not talking about sectors that meet current
needs such as health care). Night work, forced overtime, additional duties, longer and
longer billing periods destroy our physical and mental health. Especially in the case of
night work, we demand adjusting the working time to our needs (ie the possibility of
limiting its length and the possibility to choose working hours), as well as scheduling
work time at least three months in advance. Unstable hours of work strike with redoubled
power in parents and people taking care of the elderly or disabled. Short-term agency
agreements (eg two-week or monthly), where you work half a year or more, are used to
transfer business risk to working people. These contracts result in extreme uncertainty
and over-strength work (even when the disease is going through) to "earn" another
contract. In addition, breaks that are necessary to be able to work all day work should be
entirely devoted to rest, not for the implementation of additional business tasks or to
reach the place of rest.
8. Universal health insurance for all persons residing in Poland. The abolition of limits
on specialist medical services.
Widely prevailing unstable employment and the associated frequent periods of unemployment
make access to free, specialist treatment and rehabilitation difficult. Only persons
employed under a contract of employment may use the current social security system. People
employed on junk contracts or not registered as unemployed have to pay a fortune for
private medical care and medicines. This condition combined with low earnings forces them
to work beyond strength. Lack of funds for treatment and prophylaxis causes, especially
among older people, a rapid deterioration of health. Costs resulting from the destruction
of health through work should be borne by the state and entrepreneurs, not workers who are
often forced to treat themselves and their relatives with home methods. Regardless of
whether we are employed under a contract of employment and whether we have Polish
citizenship, the compulsion of work impresses on our health. Therefore, we require
permanent, and not limited, access to medical care.
9. Universal retirement at the minimum wage level.
A sudden drop in the amount of income after retirement forces the seniors, if their health
allows it, to continue working. This problem affects especially lonely people and women
who are usually less well paid during their working life, so they get lower pensions. Too
low pensions make it impossible to pay rent or buy necessary drugs, which in the long run
condemns older people to eviction or early death.
10. Developing communal housing as an alternative to commercial housing, not aid.
The basic problem of today's housing policy boils down to the fact that in the last two
decades the structure of housing construction has been gradually changing. In 2010,
socialized entities gave away only 6.6% of all new apartments to use, while developers
gave them over 40%. The decline in the importance of socialized housing is particularly
evident in cities. It is in them that developers today put in use 60-65% of total
dwellings (in 1995 - only 6.3%). At the same time, the privatization of municipal housing
resources and a sharp drop in their number are taking place. The NIK report revealed that
municipal authorities meet the demand for social housing at a level of 1-2% per year! The
development of property development and the collapse of socialized housing, including
communal housing, only favors large investors, construction companies and banks financing
private construction. The lack of competition has led to the monopoly of several
developers, which means over-inflating property prices for sale as well as rental prices.
The aim of counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real
estate market and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy,
based on the implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide
decent housing, prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities. The
aim of counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real estate
market and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy, based
on the implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide decent
housing, prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities. The aim of
counteracting such a situation is therefore necessary to diversify the real estate market
and develop urban housing resources. Only an active self-government policy, based on the
implementation of social and communal housing programs, is able to provide decent housing,
prevent depopulation of cities and increase in social inequalities.
11. Stop the reprivatization of real estate and repair of social harm caused by it.
Reprivatization involves taking pre-war assets into private hands, including the municipal
housing stock. In many cities, these properties were created for public loans. In Warsaw,
after the war, they were rebuilt thanks to free and semi-free work, deductions from
employee salaries across the country and materials from the demolition of other cities.
Like once, "the whole nation was rebuilding the capital", now we are all shifting to a
fortune for several new owners of reprivatized properties. In addition to the
reprivatization of thousands of tenements, the authorities devote tens of billions of
zlotys to financial compensation to pre-war owners. Putting such large funds out of the
capital's budget was possible thanks to the introduction of a series of antisocial
reforms: the town hall privatized school canteens and the thermal energy system (SPEC),
increased rents in municipal apartments and prices of public transport tickets. For this
reason, reprivatization appears to be the largest plunder in the history of post-war
Warsaw. The authorities, however, avoid responsibility for social harms resulting from
this process. Repair of wrongs should consist in: verification of all property
acquisitions, restoration of their city, possibility of returning to the municipal
premises for all tenants from re-privatized apartments, withdrawal of privatization and
increases in public services as well as reconstruction and extension of the municipal
12. Debt relief for tenants waiting for the allocation to social premises and forced to
pay so-called penal rent (compensation for non-contractual use of the premises).
Because the housing stock of communes is too small, the residents, after obtaining the
right to social housing, are not able to use it. At that time, the existing (mostly
private) premises still live, and the municipality pays monthly compensation to private
owners. Subsequently, the municipalities demand compensation from these residents. No
solution to the so-called matter Regress (recourse compensation) means that the shortage
of social housing is paid by tenants. In fact, the right to housing does not apply to them
and they are burdened with thousands of debt that can not be repaid. The mere expectation
of a social housing court adjudicated by the court often lasts for over ten years.
Consequences of such a state of affairs can not be borne by a tenant, especially that
their right to social housing is due to low income and poor financial situation.
13. Introduction of a total prohibition of eviction to the so-called temporary premises,
which are only a camouflaged form of eviction on the pavement. The introduction of a total
ban on the treatment of homeless centers run by NGOs and municipalities as substitute
The so-called. Temporary premises for evictions are usually rooms in employee hotels paid
for by the city authorities for no longer than a month. Therefore, most often after one
month, persons evicted are sent to homeless centers anyway. Sometimes the legal guardian
of partially incapacitated persons, instead of defending his charges, makes it easier for
the owner to make an eviction. Homeless centers are, as a rule, a shelter in crisis
situations and so should be treated. Under no circumstances may they perform the function
of substitute or social housing.
14. Adjustment of the income criterion when granting municipal and social housing,
abolition of the yardage criterion and introduction of rules for granting social housing
that meets the real needs of residents and residents of municipalities.
If the commune authorities do not want to meet the obligation to provide an appropriate
number of municipal and social premises, then they define the criteria for allocating
apartments in such a way as to limit the taking into account of the applications of a
large part of the needy. The income criterion eliminates people who earn too much income
in order to apply for the allocation of a communal flat. On the other hand, these people
earn too little to rent a flat on the market. Another problem is the threshold, which hits
people with low incomes "trapped" in relatively large rental apartments. Ultimately, for
example, in Poznan, changing the criteria for considering applications resulted in an
increase in their number and revealed a large group of those in need.
15. Protection of "francomatics". Protection of persons who, due to indebtedness and
inability to repay mortgage loans, have lost their right to their only apartment occupied
on the basis of property rights; as a result of the transfer of ownership, they become
homeless and they are not covered by the provisions of the Act on the protection of
tenants' rights (casus, the so-called frankowiczes).
According to some data, a group of indebted so-called frankkowiczów has about 560
thousand. people. The problem of debt associated with the purchase of an apartment applies
to entire families, meaning a much larger number of people. In 2000, the amount of
mortgage loans taken by Poles and Poles in total amounted to approx. PLN 9.5 billion,
currently it is approx. PLN 378 billion. Within a dozen or so years, the indebtedness of
this title increased by nearly 3900%. Often, indebted families due to the cessation of
loan repayment lose the right to the occupied premises, which is the only place where they
can meet their housing needs. Loss of financial liquidity of households is mainly caused
by high mortgage installments (often previously denominated in francs). The reasons for
this are different, e.g. loss of work due to illness or other circumstances independent of
debtors. In the case of a lack of liquidity of repayments, there is a bidding and loss of
the right to the occupied premises. The new owner, on the basis of the act of acquisition
and misappropriation of the apartment, may, without having to bring the case to court,
immediately start the proceedings with the participation of the bailiff, who automatically
evicts his order.
16. Connecting all municipal dwellings to every, extending tenants forced to heat up by
electricity and introducing real energy price regulation.
Despite the fact that electric heating is the most expensive form of heating, in Warsaw
alone, almost 70 percent. buildings managed by the commune are not connected to the
heating network. The condition for obtaining the allocation of a municipal flat is low
earnings, but the costs of electric heating are many times higher than the thresholds of
earnings determined by the town hall. This situation is particularly difficult for working
mothers who are unable to save on heating, because they have to ensure the right
conditions for children. For the negligence of city authorities in terms of providing
access to cheap energy, they pay tenants, while officials hide their heads in the sand.
Until the apartments are connected to what should be eased to tenants condemned to drastic
heating costs, abolishing rental fees. Because the disproportionate heating costs cause
the tenants' debt and evictions, in their case it is also necessary to annul rent debts
and stop the eviction. Currently existing energy additives reach 2 percent. real costs of
electric heating, and therefore electricity surcharges should be started. The
privatization of the energy sector is the reason for the continuous rise in electricity
prices, which should be subject to much more regulation.
17. Introduction of housing support programs for foreigners in economic austerity,
refugees and asylum seekers.
The Wielkopolska Association of Tenants from 2013 is fighting for the right to housing for
Roma migrants who, due to poor financial situation, live, for example, abandoned garden
arbors. The Roma do not have the possibility to register their stay in Poland.
Consequently, municipal institutions and private entities more often apply illegal
displacements to them and break the Act on the Protection of Tenants' Rights. Some
municipalities in Poland are responsible for the displacement of Roma in the European
Court of Human Rights. Resettlement and illegal demolition are associated with expenditure
from urban budgets that could be spent on housing development. People who are waiting for
a decision on obtaining asylum or other form of protection, can not take up legal
employment in Poland. In addition, they do not have the possibility of obtaining basic
protection in the form of a flat.
18. Introduction of regulations regarding domestic violence, consisting in the fact that
the perpetrator of violence is obliged to leave the apartment.
The existing forms of protection of victims of violence are not sufficient in terms of
protection of tenants' rights. Often victims of violence are forced to leave the apartment
and many months or many years of waiting for court judgments and the possibility of
applying for housing assistance.
19. Introduction of a total ban on the construction of housing substandards in the form of
social containers and barracks, and their use as social flats or temporary premises for
In Poland, approximately 5.5 million people live in substandard conditions. In 2012, the
Central Statistical Office, in turn, stated that the average wage of Poland allows the
acquisition of approx. Half a square meter of housing. It's almost two times less than ten
years ago. Thousands of people are waiting in the queue for the allocation of social and
communal premises, while municipalities are increasingly implementing sub-standard
apartments in the form of barracks, containers or in plywood houses. These activities
often break the provisions of the construction law. What's more, locating substandard
housing estates on isolated city outskirts increases social segregation. "Social ghettos
of poverty" are also a scare used against the so-called "Difficult tenants."
20.Crating the guilty of murder of Jolanta Brzeska and guilty of blurring the traces of
this crime (policemen and prosecutors).
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