Until the 7th of February 2011 three members of the Workers' Initiative were fired from Baltic Spinning factory. All of them are going to the labor court and demand the withdrawal of the dismissals and re-employment. For the Workers' Initiative the behavior of the Baltic Spinning management is an outrageous attack on the freedom of association in the workplace. The Workers' Initiative is going to monitor the case and inform about workers' rights violations in the Kostrzyn-Slubice Special Economic Zone.
On February 11 two pickets took place in Goleniów. Worker activists from the Workers' Initiative Goleniów and Poznan, including the workers who were fired, distributed leaflets on the main square of Goleniów and in front of the main gate of the Baltic Spinning factory. The pickets attracted the attention of local media and inhabitants, and many of them talked about the difficult situation of workers in the region and expressed their support for the struggle.
The Workers' Initiative is the first trade union that became active in the Industrial Park in Goleniów, which was opened in 2005 and involves 35 companies. The union did not informed the management of its existence, but someone denounced it. Reasons for its activity include bad working conditions, no pay rises, the fact that the base salaries remained on the level of the Polish minimum wage for many years, and the bad relations between employees and managements. Some years ago workers have also tried to establish works councils but the company managements prevented even this very limited form of workers organizing.
The dismissed workers have already worked in the factory for a few years. There were fired for alleged economic reasons, regardless their high work performance and skills of working on most machines on the production line. One of the fired women was supposed to get a promotion. However, their position at the plant deteriorated when the management began to suspect that they were setting up a trade union. In the same period new workers were hired.
After the pickets the Workers' Initiative received emails from other workers about bad working conditions at Baltic Spinning and other plants in the Goleniów Industrial Park in the Kostrzyn-Słubice Special Economic Zone. They describe cases of employment without contracts, violations against safety standards, the intimidation of workers, managements' anti-trade unions strategies and so-called secret "black lists of employees" (i.e. of those who express their anger about working conditions and who try to organize). After the creation of the Industrial Park unemployment rate in the region of Goleniów fell initially, but later it began to rise again. Today it is at over 18 percent, and it has increased in the past two years (from October 2008 to October 2010) by 33.7%. This has led to an increased pressure on workers.
Send protest notes, please!
For more information see: