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IP in 2002 – 2009: chronology of events

ip.resizedThis is the 2002 – 2009 chronology of events Inicjatywa Pracownicza has been involved in :

2002

Early in 2002, IP engages in protest against the proposal of changing labour regulations to favour flexible forms of employment. Later that year Poznan activists take active part in the protests of workers at Hipolit Cegielski Poznan SA (HCP) metalworks, who demanded massive job reductions to cease. In June, trade unions at HCP (Solidarnosc and Solidarnosc'80) together with IP march through the streets of Poznan. The demonstration gathers nearly thousand participants, including a hundred from IP.

During 2001 and 2002 workers' discontent is rising in Poland. A National Protest Committee (OKP) is formed and IP members take active part in its activity. They create a national office for coordinating OKP's protests and established OKP's website. Several important protest actions are organized by OKP in summer, including a march of 2000 in Warsaw. In autumn, IP actively supports a protest of Ozarow Cable Factory workers near Warsaw. At the end of November the factory is occupied for dozens of days.

2003

In June, IP activists makes contact with workers of Uniontex clothes factory (Lodz), who have been on strike. The employees refuse to let their workplace being closed down. Unfortunately, their strike fails and Uniontex gets bankrupt. Next year a new employee-owned company is established in its place, and a IP section is formed there. In December IP activist in Uniontex faces illegal redundancy, and the factory is reclaimed by its former managers. In November, IP organizes protests against anti-labor policy of McDonald's. In the same month IP invites worker activists from a dozen of workplaces for the first National Workers' Conference. The meeting will later spark a wider cooperation between various worker and syndicalist organizations. Between 2003 and 2007 there will be six conferences focused on different issues.

2004

In April, IP activists take part in a demonstration against European Economic Forum in Warsaw. In June, IP supports over 100 workers of Goplana chocolate factory and joins boycott of Nescafe to protest against reductions done by Nestle corporation. Solidarity actions coordinated by IP take place in Krakow, Warsaw and Szczecin. In Szczecin IP activists label Nestle wares in one of the supermarkets with "Don't buy it!" stickers.

2005

In January, the Poznan local section engages in the defense of Bridgestone/Firestone employees. In June and August, IP co-organizes solidarity actions for Polish immigrant employees of TESCO Ireland, who were made redundant because of labor conflict. Protests take place in eight places in Great Britain and Ireland, as well as in several Polish cities, including Poznan, Szczecin, Warsaw and Gdynia. IP is also one of the active participants in the Campaign for Temporary and Migrant Workers. In September, IP and Polska Zielona Siec (Polish Green Network) file a complaint against the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who has lent nearly 160 million Euros to Kaufland Poland supermarket for developing a chain of malls throughout Poland. Protest takes place at one of the Poznan supermarkets. Kaufland is an employer who has repeatedly and spitefully violated workers' rights in Poland.

2006

In January, IP enters a coalition of groups and organizations under the name Committee for Aid and Defense of Repressed Employees (KPiORP). The committee focuses on supporting worker activists made redundant because of their union activities. Numerous protests are organized in defense of Krzysztof Labedz (coal mine Budryk, Sierpien'80), Darek Skrzypczak (chocolate factory Goplana, Solidarnosc), Slawomir Kaczmarek (textile factory Uniontex Lodz, IP) and Jacek Rosolowski (agency Impel-Tom Kostrzyn, IP). Early in April 2006, KPiORP organizes a demonstration of 1000 people in Poznan. In June and August, actions are taken by KPiORP in defense of contractual workers in 100, and then in 50 Polish towns. In June, workers of metalworks Hipolit Cegielski Poznan (HCP) from IP organized a strike referendum on pay rise. Out of the workforce of nearly 1600 people, 640 workers were in favor of the strike, however due to too low attendances (42%) the outcome of the referendum was not valid. In 2007 IP decides to change tactics. Numerous unofficial wildcat standstills are being organized at work lasting from 15 minutes to several hours. Also several demonstrations were organized in front of the HCP management seat. As a result, HCP workers gain pay rises. In October, KPiORP organizes a march of several thousands in defense of outsourced contractual workers, including Slawomir Kaczmarek from IP. In November, mail deliverers in Gdansk, cooperating with IP, begin their wildcat strike, which later spreads throughout the country. IP organizes solidarity actions and coordinates contacts between towns. An IP section is set up in Poczta Polska (Polish Post). In December, a conference of mail deliverers on strike takes place in Poznan.

2007

In February and March, IP takes action to support female workers from a floor factory belonging to Greenkett Poland. Two IP women activists are illegally dismissed. The Spanish employer tries in vain to destroy the union in his factory. The workers got support from the Spanish CGT union. In April, KPiORP organizes another demonstration in Wroclaw against IMPEL company and job agency. One of the issues brought forward is the redundancy of Jacek Rosolowski and other IP activists by IMPEL-TOM. In March, IP begins organizing a series of informal stopovers at the HCP factory. In April, answering for IP's call to take a strike action, 90% of HCP workforce strikes by taking the same day off. The metalworks' office is repeatedly picketed at. The protest wins HCP employees a 30% rise in wages. In autumn, IP organizes actions in support of 90 workers (mostly nurses) made redundant from a newly privatized hospital in Kostrzyn. On December 31, IP activist Piotr Krzyzaniak is dismissed from an Auchan supermarket in Zielona Gora. Several protests are organized in his defense. In France, solidarity actions are organized by CNT.

2008

A series of protests against a planned reform of labour regulations take place in June. KPiORP organizes a demonstration in Warsaw attended by 1500 people including IP members. In June, Poczta Polska (the Polish Post) dismisses Bartosz Kantorczyk, IP shop-steward at the Polish Post in Gdansk, who initiated the mail deliverers' strike in November 2006. The redundancy leads to a series of protests around Poland and abroad (among other is the IWW protest in London). In summer IP publicizes an issue of the death of a 21-year-old worker of Vobro sweets factory in Brodnica. A series of protests about this case begins in September. In November and December, the management of the Statistics Office in Opole makes seven IP members redundant. Four of them will return to work after nearly two years of struggle. The redundancy is clearly an unprecedented attack against trade unions and it starts a conflict that will last for several years. Statistical offices around the country are being picketed by activists. On December 20, pickets are held at supermarkets and chain groceries. The demand is for respecting workers' rights and trade union regulations in the stores. The protests in which a total of around 120 union activists take part, are held in Poznan, Warsaw, Lublin, Torun, Katowice, Gdansk and Szczecin.

2009

In January, IP activists organize support for nearly 50 workers of Hanpol factory in Lodz robbed and abandoned by its Korean owner. Hanpol subcontracts Daewoo corporation. On March 20, an IP member from Gdansk, Mateusz Zuk, is made redundant by a company Agencja J.A.R. (owner of a garment brand Royal Collection). On April 14, a IP section from hospital in Bielsko-Biala goes on strike. On May 4, DAD Poland metal factory dismisses three workers who have formed a founding committee of IP at their workplace. Three days later IP activists storm DAD plant and organize a protest there. In the summer, the first camp of IP is organized. In November, the labor court in Poznan finds an IP shop steward of HCP factory, Marcel Szary, guilty of having organized three wildcat strikes early in 2008. This autumn workers of HCP picket in dozens and demonstrate in thousands against group redundancies at their workplace. IP organizes meetings of dismissed workers in order to fight for the outstanding wages, exchange information about jobs or benefit opportunities, and continue activity outside the HCP factory. The IP also protests in the town hall of Poznan against lack of support for the growing number of the unemployed and social cuts in the region. In November, IP activists from Lublin successfully bloc an eviction. On November 11 (a Polish national holiday), IP activists among with other organizations during official celebrations call for amnesty for illegal coal diggers from Walbrzych. Solidarity actions are organized in Lublin, Poznan, Szczecin, Krakow, Bielsko-Biala, Gdansk, Rzeszow, Opole, and Czestochowa. Also in November, IP activists in Nowa Sol organize a picket against growing unemployment and homelessness.

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