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(en) Poland, Workers Initiative ozzip: African workers in Smigiel without salary and no flat [machine translation]

Date Sat, 20 Mar 2021 09:46:18 +0200

On March 11, we received information about an attempt to evict 30 workers from Africa, employed in the Spa Food factory in Smigiel near Poznan, by a temporary employment agency, which was also behind on payment of wages. After the joint intervention of OZZ Inicjatywa Pracownicza, the Wielkopolska Association of Tenants and the Anarchist Federation in Poznan, it was possible to recover some of the outstanding money and to stop eviction. ---- People from Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and other African countries have been working on commission contracts in the factory since February, producing skewers. After they did not receive their salary in March, they refused to continue working. All of them came to Poland as students of private universities and have to pay high tuition fees on a regular basis under the threat of visa suspension and deportation. The agency owes everyone up to several thousand zlotys.

In response to the protest, agency representatives ordered employees to immediately vacate the quarters provided by the agent. Both parties to the dispute called the police, which, however, decided to side with the agency, ordering the employees "within 5 minutes" to either leave the premises or end the protest and return to work (without a guarantee of payment of arrears). Under pressure from the police and agencies, 27 people decided to leave their quarters. They were taken to Koscian, with no guarantee of employment or accommodation.

The agency, by kicking out foreign workers, not only disregarded their housing rights (which require the owner of the premises to apply appropriate procedures), but also the ban on eviction, introduced in one of the "anti-crisis shields". The pressure from both the agencies and the police to ensure that workers were removed from their accommodation immediately had no legal basis whatsoever and was based solely on taking advantage of their precarious economic situation. Moreover, three people who chose not to leave the apartment were informed that if they did not start working, an eviction would be carried out with the participation of a larger police force. One of the policemen said directly that "if they are unemployed, they are not entitled to a flat".

In connection with the reported breach of employee rights, members and members of the Anarchist Federation associated with the Inicjatywa Pracownicza trade union, as well as the Wielkopolska Tenants' Association, went to the scene on March 12. In response, the employment agency called the police again. A representative of the agency also came to the workers' hotel. Asked "Why is he not paying the employees?", He left as quickly as possible. However, the agency paid PLN 500 advances that day. The rest was promised to pay off next week. As the workers decided to continue their work, they were not kicked out of the apartment.

Spa Food, a factory in Smigiel, where migrants employed by the agencies performed work, produces products from meat and vegetables. As it turned out, you can easily find opinions that Spa Food does not pay wages on time ( see reviews on the GoWork portal ).

The Employee Initiative invites employees, both local and migrants, who would like to join the union and start working together to improve working conditions: 530 377 534 and ip[@]ozzip.pl.

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