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(en) Czech, AFED: A3: Strike - an effective solution (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 15 Mar 2023 08:14:56 +0200

Capitalists want workers to do as much work as possible for as little money as possible. Let's not help them with our passivity. Download, print and distribute the March issue of the A3 wall newspaper! ---- At the end of January, after a long period of strike readiness, workers from the tire production factory of the Korean company Nexen Tire in Bitozevs on Žatec started a strike. But they were not passive, but tried to mediate their move as much as possible. They started the strike with a demonstration in front of the plant in Bitozevs, after which they went to Prague for a protest held in front of the Korean embassy. For a long time, the management of the company coughed up any efforts by the local union to negotiate a collective agreement. Apparently, and unfortunately rightfully so, he considers the Czech Republic a good place for his production, as there is a very flexible and, moreover, very cheap labor force. The management of the company was therefore probably surprised that the employees decided to go from words to actions, and according to the union's information, its first reaction was to try to fill the jobs of the strikers, to whom he would offer slightly higher wages. The trade unionists responded to this with another demonstration in front of the factory. The local trade union organization was able to rely on one of the strongest unions - KOVO, as well as the support of the chairman of the Czech-Moravian Chamber of Trade Unions, who managed to gain visibility as a candidate for the post of president of the Czech Republic in recent months. Thanks to this support from the trade unions, the European trade union headquarters, industriAll Europe, spoke on behalf of the strikers.

On the first day of the strike, the management of Nexen de facto refused to negotiate with the trade unions. After only a week, however, they were forced to change their minds relatively quickly, to proceed to negotiations and a compromise, namely an eight percent increase in wages, valid from March 1 this year, and financial compensation for the fact that the company did not raise wages in 2022, nor at the beginning of this, in the amount of 20 thousand crowns. It's not a lot, but at a time of disproportionately high inflation and growing energy poverty, any salary increase is undoubtedly desirable.

It is no secret that capitalists love the Czech Republic. It is within reach of Germany, whose industry partly determines what and how it will be produced in our country. But above all, there is a low minimum wage, people are willing to work for really little, and when the worst comes to worst, employment agencies are able to provide an army of reserve human resources applicable to most of the less skilled work.

Another currency that capitalists value in the Czech Republic is the complete absence of the fighting spirit of the workers. Aggressive neoliberal ideology combined with primitive anti-communism has imposed on society the opinion that trade unions are a relic of the past and being a trade unionist today is definitely not sexy. Furthermore, it succeeded in the process of atomization of society where the Bolshevik normalization ended. It eliminated social solidarity and made people in the workplace competitors instead of colleagues. It fostered in the people the depraved belief that only by working hard, long and without complaint would they achieve a better position than their neighbors, and the even more depraved belief that they had only themselves to blame for their wretched situation because they did not try very hard. And finally, when the neoliberal ideology plunged the mass of workers into the abyss of existential insecurity and loss of dignity, it offered them the possibility of channeling their anger - either through mindless consumerism or hatred of those who are even worse off or unable to defend themselves due to their minority status.

The example of the strikers from Nexen in Žatec clearly shows how important it is to speak up, stand up for yourself and fight. And that the strike is working - and would have worked even without the involvement of a union celebrity.

It must be realized, quite clearly, that capitalists are not breadwinners, as they are often presented to us, nor are they philanthropists who give thousands to charity. They have only three goals and those are firstly profit, secondly profit and thirdly profit. Just as with his own arrogance at the beginning of the 1990s, when influencing the company's value orientation, Klaus repeated: "Money comes first." Capitalists are only interested in reducing costs and maximizing profits. And cost-cutting means, in particular, minimum wages for workers.

It is necessary to express our solidarity with the struggles of workers for the improvement of their conditions, be it salary, work or life. We need to support each other knowing that the interests of us workers (but also students, pensioners, unemployed...) are opposed to the interests of the capitalists. We do not see the slightest reason why the vast majority of workers should turn over every penny in their hand, while a handful of owners, investors and bosses multiply their profits in the millions.

As anarchists, however, we realize that it is not enough to fight only for slightly larger crumbs from the pie of social wealth, which we create as part of the working class with our work and care. You need to take the whole cake with the bakery. The sooner that happens, the better for everyone.

The A3 wall newspaper is published by the Anarchist Federation every month. They are mainly intended for dissemination through plastering in the streets or posting in workplaces and schools.

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