Tuesday, December 29, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Flu vaccine workers strike

libcom.org Dec. 29, 2009


Workers have launched all-out strikes at two sites owned by Sanofi Pasteur
in support of a demand for higher wages.

Workers at the sites in Val de Reuil and Marcy began action on December
15th, they are demanding an improved contract from management. The pay
offer of 1.2% has been dismissed and workers are demanding a 3% rise with
a minimum increase of 150 euros a month.

Workers are angry that after the company cited low profits last year as a
reason for only giving a pay rie of 1.8% they are now offering even less
when profits have nearly doubled. The average mangement pay rise of 6% and
23% increase in the dividend have angered workers who are being asked to
settle for a pay rise linked to inflation.

In response to strike action management initially offered to add a minimum
increase of 46.12 euros a month and has since threatened to withdraw this
if the strikes do not end immediately. Management are claiming that the
entire package on offer to workers is worth nearer 3.2% and thaat the
average wage at the company is higher than the industry average.

There has been strike action at five other sites owned by the company. At
Marcy 600 workers voted for strike action at a General Assembly and
reports suggest 1000 workers out of the 3000 are actively striking
although the company has claimed that this figure is closer to 400.
Workers have occupied and blockaded parts of the sites with pickets manned
24 hours a day. At the Val de Reuil site the unions are reporting 4-500
out of 1800 workers striking while management claim fewer than 200.

Rebellyon has also published a diary of the strike at Marcy which gives an
idea of the day to day conduct of the strike.

Monday: General Assembly called by the unions (CFDT CFTC FO CGT CFE-CGC)
600 workers vote in favour of a strike. Workers march through the
buildings on site paying particular attention to managment areas.
16h A meeting at 8am is agreed for the following day.

Tuesday: the Strike continues.
Negotiations in PAris with union delegates. The company refuses to raise
the offer but offers a minimum increase of 46.12 euros a month.
Negotiations break down and workers hold a demonstration.
15h: Suppliers are prevented from entering the site. Pallets are used to
block entry points to the site and more strikers arrive to reinforce them.
16h: All entry points are blocked.
A General assembly votes to continue the strike until the Wednesday.

Wednesday: Site blockaded from 7am. All vehicle entry stopped, only those
on foot can get into the site.
11h: workers set up braziers and light them.
14h: negotiations resume: management block all attempts to negotiate. The
pallets start to burn.
16h: 800 vote at the General Assembly to continue the strike until
Thursday. As management used the lifting of the blockade overnight to move
materials in workers vote to maintain the blockade overnight.
Night: total blockade. Workers keep guard in shifts and patrol the site.
Management also tries to 'restore dialogue' by sending pairs of managers
out to try to talk to workers on the barricades. Management spent the rest
of their time giving names of strikers to huissiers de justice.*

Thursday: Blockades continue.
14h: Negotiations still deadlocked. 17 out of Sanofi's 28 sites are on
stike but only Marcy is completely blockaded.
16h: General Assembly. Vote to continue the strike in the 'Pasteur"
sections of the company. Reports says mobilisation at other sites isn't
strong enough. Only the "Pasteur" sites of Marcy and Val de Reuil will
continue their mobilisation to try to bring the Pasteur negotiations to a
good conclusion. The Assembly also votes to continue the stike from the
4th of January if negotiations tomorrow are unsuccesful.
Night: Another night of blockades. In spite of the snow and temperatures
of -5 there is a very festive atmosphere.

Friday: Blockades continue.
12h: negotiations between the union group and the director of Pasteur are
then referred to the director of Sanofi-Aventis who announces that either
workers accept 1.2% and the 46 euro minimum or he will withdraw the
minimum and they will 'only' get the 1.2%. Workers march through the
buildings. All the fire alarms go off and trucks that try to leave while
workers are marching find that their tyres are flat.
15h: Assembly confimrs the continuation of the strike from the 4th of
January (few workers are scheduled to work before then) and submits
official notice of strike until Sunday 20th in support of the weekend

Images and original story from rebellyon, translation and additional
material from libcom

*Here the account says 'this problem was quickly solved' but it is unclear
which problem they are talking about.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

[olympiaworkers] The Wobbly Organizer

 The Wobbly Organizer

(one Wobbly's point of view)

Working people of the world live under the domination of the employing class who exploit the labor of working people for their profit. The employing class pays working people wages which is only a small percentage of the wealth that working people produce. This arrangement exists because of the organized power of the employing class and the lack of organization of working people.

As unorganized individuals, working people have very little power to influence their wages and working conditions, and no power to end the exploitation.

For working people to improve their conditions and gain a larger share of the wealth they create they must organize together in a union organization. In order to do that they must learn that their interests as workers are directly connected to the interests of all workers and stand together as a powerful force.

The gains made by working people depends upon their organized power. Though the employing class seems to     be very powerful and is aided by governments that act in   the employers interest, if organized working people can be far more powerful. Throughout the world on every job that exists working people have in their hands the tools of production and services. The employing class does no useful work and is completely dependent upon working people's labor. No society anywhere can exist without labor fulfilling the needs of that society, but no society is dependent upon an employing class to exploit that labor.

As working people organize their power of production and services they will be able to improve their conditions and wages, through a process of winning concessions. Though many business unions believe that is the extent of their goals, the IWW seeks to also end the exploitation and the historical conflict between the employers and working people that has gone on since the exploitation began.

As working people organize their unions for day-to-day struggle, the IWW believes that they are also organizing the power of working people to end the exploitation. At which time the organized power of the working class is greater than the organized power of the employing class, workers will be able to seize the tools of production and services, withhold all of its labor and produced goods from the employing class and then carry on their labor for the   benefit of all. If the employers then want to share in the benefits of production and services they must join working people in producing those benefits.

Industrial union organizations do not often organize themselves. They have a need of union organizers. The IWW union organizers, Wobbly organizers, are different than the type of organizers found in many other unions.

The Wobbly organizer is not a leader. The Wobbly organizer does not seek to organize followers. The Wobbly organizer seeks to help other working people create functioning industrial union organizations in their workplaces and in their industries. The goal of a Wobbly organizer is to organize themselves out of a job. In other words when the shop organization and the industrial organization is organized to function on its own, the job of the Wobbly organizer is done.

The Wobbly organizer is not an organizer by profession.  The Wobbly organizer is a worker doing a job that needs    to be done As a worker the Wobbly organizer knows that   all workers who labor for a living are just as much workers as any other workers, there are no second class workers. And every worker who joins the IWW is just as much of a Wobbly as any other Wobbly, there are no second class Wobblies.

Not every Wobbly is an organizer, but every Wobbly can help with organizing. The job of a Wobbly organizer is just one of many needed jobs that goes into creating industrial union organizations. These needed jobs can include: writers, artists, researchers, computer work, fund-raising, accounting, reporting, and so on. Each job is important to the process of creating industrial unions and each is just as important as any other job. For it is the complete effort that goes into industrial union organizing that creates what the organization becomes. It is like firefighters at a fire. The firefighters can set out all their hoses and be ready to do their job, but if no one turns on the water their effort has no purpose. And if someone turns on the water and no one has set out the hoses, that effort has no purpose. So who is the most important part of firefighting? They all are. So the Wobbly organizer and those doing other jobs must work together as a team with a common purpose.

The Wobbly organizer does not know all things. The job of being a Wobbly organizer is both using organizing skills and knowledge and being open to a continuous learning process. We all go through a learning process that starts when we are born and continues until we die. If we try to stop that process by thinking we know every thing then we limit our true knowledge. The Wobbly organizer knows that she/he can learn from any one. They can learn from older, more experienced folks who can share what they have learned. They can learn from younger folks who have new ideas. A Wobbly organizer is both a knowledge giver and a knowledge seeker.

The Wobbly organizer does more with their ears than they do with their mouths. The Wobbly organizer must be a good listener. By using their ears a Wobbly organizer learns about the concerns, hopes and opinions of those that they are trying to organize. They learn about the job and its conditions. They can learn what skills workers have and what they like or do not like to do. And when people feel they have input in the organizing process then they are more likely to be a part of it.

The Wobbly organizer understands that workers are not machines and a union needs to be more than just a bargaining unit. Workers are people, individuals with concerns and problems that effect them on the job and in industrial union organizing. One such off the job thing that can have an effect on organizing and industrial union action is the family and friends of the workers. Often the family and friends of workers can create stress on workers, even conflict, in time of organizing and action. A Wobbly organizer can think that a worker is a strong union member, only to see that worker drop out of the effort due to family problems. The problem faced by the Wobbly organizer is that many workers are in the situation where industrial union organizing or action takes time away from their family and friends and that can make the family and friends feel left out, neglected and so on. Often when that happens they blame the union. The solution to this problem is to keep the families and friends informed with meetings for them where they can ask questions. Also, when possible get the families and friends involved. There are many support activities they can work on. If nothing else union social events. And the union should get more involved with the children than just daycare. The union should have organized activities for the kids. Just think how much that can benefit future organizing if kids grow up liking unions. Whereas stress from families and friends can undermine a strong union, but on the other hand if family and friends are involved and supportive of the union that can create a union bond that is very hard to break.

The Wobbly organizer must set a good example for the workers being organized. If the Wobbly organizer is going out and partying and getting drunk all the time or is neglectful of their families or are abusive to people then they are setting a bad example.

With worker self-management comes not only worker freedom but also worker responsibility. That means we are responsible for the effects of our production and services. This is also true of the Wobbly organizer who is responsible to the workers that the Wobbly organizer seeks to organize. The Wobbly organizer should keep the workers informed and let them make informed decisions on things that could put them at risk like strikes.

Each job and organizing situation is different. Thus there is no organizing blueprint that fits every situation. If there was such a blueprint then in time we would have to get rid of it because the employers would know our plans and thus be able to counter them. The Wobbly organizer needs a good imagination to keep the employers guessing as to what is going on.

The Wobbly organizer understands that the working class is not all the same. Though all workers labor to survive and have common interests, there is also a great diversity of culture, race, religion and so on. The employing class tries to use this diversity to keep workers apart and blaming each other for things that is fact the employing class is responsible for. But the Wobbly organizer knows that diversity is our strength and not our weakness.

When speaking or writing the Wobbly organizer understands that we must reach an agreement on ideas within the minds of working people, but it is reaching emotions, lighting a fire in the hearts of working people that makes them act upon those things that the mind agrees upon.

The Wobbly organizer knows that education is an important part of the organizing process. The wobbly organizer does not seek to just organize bargaining units but also seeks to create Wobblies.

The IWW is a constitutional organization. The IWW's Constitution, including its Preamble, is the common agreement between all members. The Wobbly organizer helps the workers on the job understand the Constitution and how to use it.

The Wobbly organizer teaches workers about union democracy, how it works and what union democracy protections the IWW has in its constitution.

The Wobbly organizers both teaches workers about solidarity and organizes it within the union structure. Solidarity is not just a nice sounding slogan but rather is an important part of all union activities. Solidarity needs to become a way of life for working people.  And solidarity is something that needs to be organized so that when there is a need for it the organizational means for it is in place.

The Wobbly organizer seeks to give workers the tools they need to act for themselves upon their interests and concerns without delegating to others that which they should do for themselves.

The Wobbly organizer seeks to create an industrial union structure on the job that includes all workers and excludes no one. The Wobbly organizer teaches the skills and knowledge the workers need and then places the responsibilities in their hands. Though every worker should share in the responsibilities, the Wobbly organizer is there to help them in every step of the way. The Wobbly organizer may suggest that workers team up for responsibilities to make it easy on them.

The IWW seeks in the long term to create a society where working people control their labor. And in the organizing process and the workplace actions the IWW advocates working people to act themselves in their own interests. In order to do that working people need to learn to speak for themselves. Worker self-expression comes in many forms such as, writing, artwork, music, story telling, and so on. The Wobbly organizer seeks to encourage worker self-expression by helping teaching skills for it and helping to create forums for worker self-expression. This helps workers to feel that they are being heard and are a part of what is going on. One simple way of doing this during an organizing drive is to publish a newsletter where the workers on the job write about their work experiences. Those with writing skills can help those with out writing skills.

The Wobbly organizer knows that what needs to get done must get done and that sometimes people don't get done what they say they will do. So the Wobbly organizer does not let anything fail because work that needs to be done is not done. At that point the Wobbly organizer, without complaining, just steps in and get that needed work done. There are two types of people in our struggle. There are those that do what ever is needed in any given situation. That could be taking some grand stand of self-sacrifice like going to jail or even being in harms way if needed, or something as simple as stuffing envelopes. It is doing what ever is needed. Such people are all off equal importance and the Wobbly organizer is such a person.. Then there are the people who will help at times but there are limitations to what they will do.

The job of a Wobbly organizer can be a lonely experience. The Wobbly organizer is not a leader or a celebrity. Often if they do a good job few people will really know about all the work that the Wobbly organizer has done. And this is what the Wobbly organizer wants because the Wobbly organizer wants the focus to be on the workers on the job and their struggle and not be focused on the Wobbly organizer. The Wobbly organizer's gratification comes from knowing that they helped create something that is needed.             

Arthur J. Miller; Ship Builders IU 320--IWW

Thursday, December 17, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Wave of strikes sweeps Greece

Libcom.org Dec 17 2009 10:37

A wave of strikes culminating on Thursdays pan-worker mobilisation has
been the response to the scaremongering of the government amidst the
worsening economic crisis that threatens Greece with bankruptcy.

After the week of riots came the week of strikes: the multifold strikes
that are taking place since Tuesday 15 December and peaked on Thursday 17
with the pan-workers strike called by PAME, the Communist Party Union
Front, as wells a dozens of extra-parliamentary parties of the left and
first-grade unions forming demos in 58 cities and towns around Greece.

The strikes come at a critical time for the greek economy which saw a
second degrading in ten days in terms of its credit, this time by the
Standard & Poor's group. The second degrading came as international
finance centres claimed the austerity measures announced by the
belleagured government are not likely to produce adequate results.

Due to the media strike news about Thursdays developments remain scarce;

Whereas the garbage collecting strike has been judged for a second time
illegal forcing refuse collectors to the streets, large parts of Athens
remain plunged in enormous piles of gargabe as refuse workers at the main
open refuse dump of the capital have responded to the ban of the previous
strike by blockading the gates of the depot, halting 80% of collecting
activities. The workers are demanding a reversal of 200 layoffs.

The Centres of Citizen Assistance (KEP), the jewel of efficiency in the
greek state's crown, remain closed for a second day as workers are
striking. This in effect freezes all private-public transaction as the KEP
are the offices that issues official papers needed for any paperwork. The
workers are demanding more working positions and a recognition of their
previous job experience.
Kidengarden and Primary school teachers have been on strike since the
16/12. The teachers formed a demo outside the Ministry of Education
demanding 1400E minimum wage, no hour-work schedules, and 2 years free and
obligadory kidengarden education for all children. The union has refused
to engage on "tabula rasa" dialogue with the ministry. The general union
of teachers of all grades joined the strike on Thursday.

Taxi drivers have gone on strike in Athens after one of their coleagues
was arrested for carrying two sans-papier immigrants. The taxi drivers are
demanding the abolition of the law that demands taxi drivers to ask for
papers from immigrants that ride on their vehicles, and the immediate
release of their colleague.
All hospital doctors across the country have gone on strike on Thursday
and all intensive care units remain closed.

In Peiraeus, talks were concluded on Tuesday regarding the leasing of the
Second Pier of Peiraeus to COSCO which was agreed on a bases of 69 million
euros collective compensation to the workers, an ammount that has created
a storm of political accusations by the opposition. Nevertheless the
Mechanics Union of the Merchant Fleet has gone on a "warning strike" on
Thursday demanding a minimum 1400E salary.

Geologists, designers and mechanics have also joined the strike demanding
that "we do not pay their crisis"

All media have gone on a 24h strike unil Friday morning demanding the end
of the "hostage status" of contract workers, free information sharing
emancipated from commodification, and the abolition of all laws infirnging
social security. As a result there are no news broadcasts on radio TV or
the internet. Moreover workers of ERT3 the Salonica based state channel
are accusing their directors of going against union decisions and sharing
riot footage with the police.

Apart from the wave of strikes other fronts of the social/ class struggle
remain tense:

A protest march took to the streets of Ioannina on the 16 of December
protesting against the invasion of police forces in the social centre of
the city during the days commemorating Alexandros Grigoropoulos

In Chania the immigrants social centre and a house of a comrade came under
arson attack by neonazis who painted swastigas on the walls of the social
centre. There were no human injuries and minimal damage on both buildings.
The attack comes as an escalation of parastate violence in the Cretan
city, after warnings (or threats) by the minister of public order that
left and anarchist violence will result in extreme-right terror attacks. A
protest march has been called by greens, immigrant groups, anarchists,
left wing parties, animal rights groups and the local teacher's union for
Thursday night against parastate-fascist terror.

In Athens, an effort by the extreme-right parliamentary party LAOS to set
up a racist local committee with the purpose to purge African immigrants
from Amerikis Square was countered when triple the number of antiracists
and antifascists responded to the call. The MP of LASO has to take refuge
amidst heckling and the attempts to revamp the vigilante plans that have
been degenerating in the nearby Agios PAnteleimonas square since the end
of the summer were temporarily at least contained.

In Salonica, an initiative of lawyers has sued the government for police
arbitrariness on the 6th and 7th of December: illegal preventive arrests,
illegal fingerprinting and breaching of the university asylum. A member of
the directorate of the lawyers association of Salonica has declared that
all sueing lawyers have been eyewitnesses to the police illegal actions
which are in breach of the constitution that forbids the outlawing or
inhibition of protest marches and demos. No permit is needed in greece to
form a demo or a protest march. Fingerprinting of detainees is allowed
according to a law of the junta and is more and more resisted by
The border tolls of Euzone in Kilkis remain close due to blokades by
farmers demanding the immediate apyment of a compensation for the 2007

On the morning of Thursday the greek police was once again shamed by the
suicide attempt of the legal council to the monister of public order who
jumpted from the 7th floor of the ministry. Mr Diotis is the son of the
notorious district attorney who was responsible for chamically torturing
Savas Xiros, the first arrested member of the guerrilla group 17 November,
in the intensive care of Evangelismos hospital in 2002. The man is
struggling for his life in hospital, his fall being impeded by a row of
trees. Moreover the credibility of the greek police has been once again
shaken by a poll that revealed than almost 60% of officers consider
quiting their jobs if they have to wear insignia with their number or name
while on duty, as recently announced by the ministry. Obviously the cops
are not willing not to be able brutilise citizens unpunishable.

Update: Strikers have occipied the broadcasting headquarters of ERT3, the
Salonica state channel. The media strikers interrupted the news broadcast
of the scabs reading an announcement condemning breaking the strike. ERT3
is the only national channel that has broken the strike broadcasting news
bulletins. Other strikers simultaneously occupied the Salonica editors
association officers of the city for not participating in the strike.

Yesterday members of PAME the Communist union umbrella had symbolically
occupied the ministry of economics blocking the minister's office,
dropping a huge banner on the front of the building.

Also last night radicals attacked a series of banks in the centre of
Kavala in Thrace, smashing their fronts and torching them with molotov
cocktails. 18 suspects were later detained but released.

It must be noted that the strikes are against the will of the PASOK
controlled greek CGT.

2nd update: The workers march in Iraklio, Crete was concluded with a
blockade of the medical centre of the city due to nine people being sacked
in the past month.

In Athens contract workers for the county of Attiki occupied the municipal
headquarters in Sygrou avenue protesting against the sacking of 300
co-workers at the end of November.

Also thugs attacked strikers at a construction site of the National
Electricity Company today inflicting serious injuries to 3 workers who
have been hospitalised. The construction sector unionism is predominantly
and historically Communist Party controlled.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

[olympiaworkers] South Korean Railway union leader detained over illegal strike

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- Police took the head of a railway workers'
union into custody on Sunday, accusing him of disturbing the service of
the state-run Korea Railroad (KORAIL) by leading an illegal walkout.

An arrest warrant was issued for the Korean Railway Workers' Union
leader, Kim Ki-tae, during the Nov. 26- Dec. 3 strike. Kim turned
himself in to police Dec. 9 after seeking refuge at an umbrella labor
union's office.

Some 15,000 union members, excluding 10,000 workers essential for
railway maintenance, had taken part in the eight-day strike, protesting
the management's decision to shed jobs and cut wages as part of
restructuring steps.

KORAIL claims the walkout, the longest ever by the nation's railway
workers, caused an estimated 20 billion won (US$17 million) in losses.

It said it will proceed with disciplinary procedures against 12 union
leaders and seek compensation for damages from the union.


Monday, December 14, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Striking workers in South Africa need our help today

To unsubscribe send an email to labourstart-en-unsubscribe@unionlists.org.uk
with the subject 'unsubscribe'.

Send a message to Sun International - "negotiate and don't try to break
the union"
Urgent Action 14-12-2009

More than 3,500 SACCAWU members at the Sun International South Africa have
been on strike since 4 December 2009 for wage increases and improved
working conditions. The country has become one of the premier tourist
destinations in the world and saw the company more than doubling over the
last few years. Throughout the period of negotiations which stretched over
months now, management has demonstrated extremely bad faith, continuously
derailing the negotiations, this is despite all efforts by the union to
settle the strike.

Since the beginning of the strike more than thirty union members have been
arrested while other workers are continuously being provoked, harassed and
subjected to all sorts of racial insults from the police and private
security firms as the attempts to break the strike continue.

Most recently just when it appeared that a agreement was reached, short of
both parties agreeing on the text of the resolution and signing it the
company once again returned to a pre-strike position as the final

SACCAWU is convinced that this is a deliberate strategy by the company to
break the strike and break their union at Sun International.

Click here to support SACCAWU


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Wildcat strikes of Czech workers in Hyundai and Dymos get massive attention

Libcom.org Dec 9 2009

Around 20 workers left the welding shop in Hyundai Motor Manufacturing
Czech in Nošovice near Frýdek-Místek (Czech Republic) during their shift
on Tuesday 1st of December 2009. One day later there was an hourly wildcat
strike in assembly hall at the same company. On 3rd December workers in
Huyndai subcontactor Dymos organised an hourly work stoppage too. On 7th
December the union called a "strike emergency" (a symbolic pre-strike
measure to warn the management that unless they start negotiations a real
strike action will be called) in Hyundai.

We informed about these strikes on our website on 3rd of December. In this
article we try to sum up what actually happened, what positive and
negative results we can see so far and how other workers can help.

„The other day my wife came home, locked herself in a room and cried. When
I came to her and asked what had happened, she told me little by little
how things work there and what they have to endure. She's been bottling it
up inside her heroically for almost 7 months. I can't understand how
something like this is possible in our country. When I read statements of
Petr Vaňek (HMMC spokesman) I feel like I'm about to vomit.
Chicanery, humiliation, threats = this is where Mr Rakovský and Mr
Vaněk are heading to." Reader's comment on newspaper website

Wildcat strike in Hyundai on 2nd December

Around 400 workers stood up against obligatory overtimes, selective annual
company bonuses, and workplace harassment. Workers were planning to stop
production since the morning. When the overtime was supposed to begin,
workers on one of the lines in the hall stopped production, and in a few
minutes all the other lines joined in. The workers then assembled in the
canteen. The management told them to choose a representative who would
negotiate on their behalf, and they rejected this idea. They demanded the
management to come to them and talk in front of everyone. A person from
Korean management along with the shift supervisor came to listen to their
demands. After an hour of negotiations the workers agreed to complete the
shift and continue negotiating within next days. They were promised that
the overtimes on Thursday would be cancelled and the hour they spent
striking would be paid.

Wildcat strike in Dymos on 3rd December and management reaction

On Wednesday, December 3rd, one shift (approximately 100 workers) also
went on an hourly wildcat strike in Dymos (also in Nošovice, see the
picture http://www.hyundai.phorum.cz/areal.php), which is a subcontracting
company for Hyundai also with Korean management. Reasons included
overtimes, overexertion of workers and bad working conditions. Management
of Hyundai is behaving defensively so far and trying to quieten the whole
issue in mass media. On the other hand, management of Dymos reacted very
quickly. According to information published on the Internet, on 4th
December the management told the morning shift which had been on strike a
day ago that the workers will loose all the bonuses and there will be a
wage freeze.

"Strike emergency" since 7th December - Unions trying to gain control over
further development

The strike in Hyundai was organized without official involvement of the
union (and work council) so that the union could not be accused of illegal
action. There were some posts on the workers' discussion forum encouraging
them to quickly join the union in order to gain strength. The union has
called a "strike emergency" on Monday, December 7th.

A possible solution was drafted by a union representative on the union's
discussion forum. He writes that the employees who took part in the strike
will not be punished and urges that now "the employees have to distance
themselves from all activities similar to what happened on Wednesday!!!
You can strike only afterwards if there is no deal and no compromise with
the management!!! Not sooner!!! It would be illegal and the negotiations
would fail!!! Plus one technical info: 500 Czech crowns* in cash instead
of a Christmas box of chocolate for every union member, who paid his union
fee in November!! :-)"
* cca. 19 Euro

Positive results so far

1) Self-organisation of the action. Workers' mobilization and their own
action could encourage other workers, not only in Czech.
2) Information channel. The workers had established a public online forum
long before they went on strike. This forum along with comments on media
websites has become a space where they share information and explain their
situation and current events. By doing so the workers have made a huge
step forward and have been able to clarify their situation to everyone who
has access to the Internet and follows the articles online.
3) Support from other companies. Many online posts from workers from other
companies have been supportive. They shared their experiences with bad
working conditions, unpaid overtimes, overtimes deleted from electronic
databases, etc.
4) Support from abroad and examples of other actions. Examples of strikes
from other countries were also mentioned (France, Korea...). We have also
seen solidarity messages from foreign workers, e.g. from Slovakia, Poland,
France... on the workers' discussion forum.
5) Media coverage. Mass media informed about the problem more or less
neutrally, in any case there were no articles directly against workers.
Hundreds of readers used the possibility to discuss on media websites.
The list could continue but it is too soon to evaluate the whole conflict.

Some thoughts on future developments

Hyundai. "Strike emergency" means that the union will take control over
the actions. No one can say what this step will bring. The negotiations of
new collective agreement will start in January 2010 and the unions will
want to take advantage of the workers' fighting spirit. The experience of
Czech Skoda workers from 2007 in a similar case is, however, not very
positive. If the union succeeds in the attempt to convince the workers not
to take independent actions, it will increase its power to decide about
the agreement.

The union in Hyundai represents cca 350 of total 2000 employees and
according to their treasurer Štefan Janík sees a big rise in the number of
people interested in joining it. Union demands are related mainly to
overtimes and management pressure on workers. The reason is probably that
they count on the fact that other problems will be dealt with from January
2010 as part of the new collective agreement. We can only guess if the
formulation of demands is in accordance with workers' opinions. Now it is
important to hold the power to make demands and accept agreements in
workers' hands, not unions'. That is, it should arise from discussions at
mass assemblies of workers in the halls during working time (without
presence of management representatives). The pressure on management would
thus double – they would not only face a couple of unionists but the whole
production sections that would assert their power and make decisions. It
is possible that now after the "strike emergency" was called, this power
will be lost. Next weeks will show how the workers balance their power and
the power of the union.

Regarding accepting of agreements, our opinion is that the procedure
should be similar: every decision should be discussed and accepted at the
mass assembly. Workers' delegates would be elected by the workers and they
would report the demands to the management. Under no circumstances could
they accept an agreement which would not be ratified by the mass assembly.

We also think that workers could start forming a strike committee. Usually
it is composed only of union representatives but we think it should be
autonomous – in the spirit of original autonomous actions. Every worker
should have the possibility to be a member of the strike committee. Union
membership does not matter.

Dymos. Dymos workers face a bigger problem. We do not have almost any
information from them. We do not know how they reacted to the announcement
about bonuses and wage freeze. We do not even know if there is any contact
between Hyundai and Dymos workers. Union demands do not mention Dymos
workers. If Hyundai workers stand up for them it will certainly be a great
display of solidarity and strength for the future.


What more can all those who are not working in Hyundai or Dymos do, other
than wish a lot of strength and a successful outcome? Here are some modest
• Express symbolic support on the workers' discussion forum or elsewhere
in the media.
• Ask workers from subcontracting companies to express their solidarity
individually or collectively. Some Czech companies are listed here:
• Inform friends and acquaintances at home and abroad about this struggle,
particularly if they work in car industry.
• If your workplace has been through a strike or any pre-strike situation,
you could share the experience, its pros and cons and what would you do
differently if the situation occurred again.

Priama akcia
Slovak section of International Workers' Association

Slovak version: Priama akcia-IWA website
German version: FAU-IWA website

Online discussion forum of Hyundai workers:


Dec 9 2009 14:31 (new)

There is a leaflet with the German version of the text that has amongst
others been distributed at Volkswagen in Germany. Feel free to download
the PDF file.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

[olympiaworkers] Tension in Greece before critical weekend

libcom.org Dec 2 2009

Strikes, marches, blockades, occupations and nights of fire are setting
the climate before the critical weekend of the first anniversary of
Alexandros Grigoropoulos murder.

Political and social tension is rising across greece before the critical
weekend (Saturday 5- Monday 7) that marks the first year anniversary of
the assassination of Alexandros Grigoropoulos and the subsequent December

On the labour front, a series of sectors are restless. On Monday 30/11
Athens saw a demo of hospital doctors who went on a 24h strike in front of
the Evangelismos hospital. At the same time nurses of the Agia Eleni
hospital have occupied the management offices of the hospital demanding
that employed nurses are removed from office work and placed only in
medical care. On the telecom front, the workers of Wind have called
another 24h strike for Thursday 3/12 in response to the forced "voluntary
exit" of 200 workers. At the same time archaeologists employed by the
Ministry of Culture have called a 48h strike for Wednesday and Thursday
demanding immediate payment of all salaries. The archaeologists gathered
in front of the Archaeological Museum of Athens and marched to the
Ministry. On the heavy industry side, steel workers have called a 24h
strike in protest to the layoff of 16 workers at the National Steelworks.
The workers have gathered in front of the main factory of the industry and
are closing on and off the national highway south of Athens. On the public
sector on Wednesday 2/12 stage workers of the municipality of Salonica
have blockaded the municipal headquarters disallowing all citizens and
employers to enter the premises. The workers are demanding the revision of
the new government's plans regarding the integration of stage workers to
permanent employment. On the farming side of things, peach producers have
been blockading the Egnatia national highway, halting all traffic from
Salonica west, demanding that the Ministry of Agriculture fix a universal
price for their products.

Finally a striking event much discussed even in the mainstream media is an
acid attack against the car of a cleaner, Venetia Monalopoulou, contracted
to the Airport of Salonica. The cleaner is a leading syndicalist playing
an important role in the efforts to built a united autonomous union front
of cleaners on the model put forward by K. Kouneva, the Athens cleaner who
is still in hospital a year after an assassination attempt against her
with sulphuric acid. The latest attack came during an assembly of the
cleaners and has been condemned by the cleaners as "boss terrorism".

On the student front, a protest march took to the streets of Athens
amongst piles of ungathered garbage due to a blockade of the Fylis refuse
dump by locals. The students protested the closure of their schools by a
collaboration if rectorial and police authorities during the 36th
anniversary of the November 17 Uprising last month. A similar protest
march took to the streets of the city of Volos on Tuesday 1/12. At the
same time workers of the University of the Peloponese who have been
occupying the rectorial headquarters of their university moved on
Wednesday 2/12 to blockade the main Corinthian highway, thus putting all
southbound circulation in the peninsula to a halt.

On the anti-repression front, as the trial of the imprisoned anarchist
Ilias Nikolaoy started on Wednesday morning under draconian police
presence, a big motorised protest march took to the prisons of Diavata the
previous night. At the same time a big protest march took to the streets
of Salonica on Monday 30/12 protesting against the para-state bomb attack
against the Bueno Ventura antiauthoritarian social centre last week. A day
earlier another anti-repression protest march took to the streets of
Petralona in Athens against the petrol bomb attack against the house of a
member of the Revolutionary Workers Party who is actively involved in the
anti-gentrification movement in the area. At the same time two new squats
have appeared in the archipelagos of social antagonism: on in Exarcheia
and on in Corfu. The latter has been receiving pressure of eviction by
local cops.

Finally the already tense social and political climate has been punctuated
by a series of attacks against state and capitalist targets throughout the
country. The latest of these was Tuesday night's blitz molotov attack
against the commercial centre of Kaisariani, an eastern suburb of Athens,
targetting mainly banks. In Salonica, a series of attacks against houses
of policemen, judges and newspaper managers with small range explosive
devices has been claimed by a the urban guerrilla group Convention of
Anomics/ Ministers of Erebus.