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ISSUE 70 page 3

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Polish mines and jobs saved after strike
 A POTENTIALLY DAMAGING PLAN TO CLOSE SEVERAL mines and privatise others has been defeated in Poland after determined action by the miners’ trade union KADRA. Poland’s newish prime minister Ewa Kopacz had attempted to  make 5,000 workers redundant and gradually merge the largest coal mining company in Europe, the state-owned Kompania Weglowa with energy firms. The Civic Platform government, which is facing elections this year, pleaded the falling price of coal and cheap imports from Russia as reasons for the proposed restructuring. Immediately following the announcement, which was not discussed with the union, several thousand miners started an underground protest and their leaders refused to go to the capital Warsaw, demanding that the Ms. Kopacz come to the mining area of Silesia for talks.
PolandMineDemo
They insisted that the large remaining coal deposits could ensure energy security for Poland if  a more socially responsible plan which addressed the entire sector was formulated. After intense negotiations a compromise solution was reached. The four pits will be transferred to a restructuring company and utility firms will be encouraged to take a stake in them. Talks will start on a new collective bargaining agreement and there will be state aid for energy-intensive industries. Silesia will also be the subject of a  re-industrialisation programme. Dariusz Trzcionka, President of KADRA said ‘The success of the negotiations would not have been possible without the support and solidarity of workers, residents, local governments, European and international trade unions’ while the prime minister hailed ‘a good, healthy compromise’.

Polish miners protest against the closure plan

 

 

TUC migrant worker guide launches
 THE UK TRADE UNION CONGRESS RECENTLY published an online guide to working in the country for migrant workers from both EU countries and further afield. The union federation hopes to address not only the problems of appalling conditions, low wages and lack of rights experienced by the migrants themselves but also the idea that they are undercutting other workers. This ‘has been exploited by some politicians to win support for anti-immigrant policies that only increase social tension’ says TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady. Trade unions are vital, she emphasised, to deal with mistreatment such as bogus self-employment and non-payment of the minimum wage. The guide, which was developed in conjunction with LIGA in Hungary and Cartel-ALFA in Romania, was launched at the London advice centre of the Italian CGIL federation. There are estimated to be about 550,000 Italian migrant workers in Britain, 60% of them under 35, employed increasingly in highly skilled occupations.  It, is available in Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovakian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and English and covers such topics as parental rights, health and safety, pay and employment agencies.

TUCGuideLaunchThe guide is launched at the CGIL London centre




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