On 15 December 2015 two protests were organised by Trade Union Solidarity Commerce in Warsaw: one in front of the Auchan hypermarket and one in front of the headquarters office of Jeronimo Martins Poland, the owner of the Ladybird (Biedronka) chain.
Trade unionists from Auchan Poland handed a petition concerning their demands to the employer. They also presented a Christmas tree to the board of Auchan Poland, with skeletons of fish hanging on it. As Alfred Bujara, chairman of the Solidarity Commerce TU explained, the point was to show that workers of Auchan ‘can afford only these for Christmas’.
An important demand of picketing was to reduce working hours on Christmas Eve. ‘Auchan is the only one of the big retail chains operating in Poland that keeps the shops open till 15.00 on Christmas Eve. It must be remembered that after the closing of the store employees must still clean, restock shelves and coolers, and perform many other activities. This means that they will have Christmas Eve supper with their families late in the evening’, says Alfred Bujara. It is worth mentioning that The National Section of Commerce Sector Employees – TU Solidarity Commerce for many years has been carrying out the pre-Christmas campaign “Do not sell the first star” with the aim to encourage employers in the retail industry to shorten working hours during the Christmas Eve. ‘Our campaign has brought good results. This year on Christmas Eve, almost all discount stores as well as supermarkets and hypermarkets will be opened only up to 14.00, though a few years ago, the norm was that on that day they were open even late in the afternoon. Only Auchan is a disreputable exception’ emphasizes Bujara.
In addition, Polish real;- workers who were taken over by the company Auchan Poland want to bring attention to the deterioration of working conditions and salaries, and also to the excessive workload. Other postulates to the Auchan Poland management include starting the collective bargaining and respecting H&S regulations which are violated now.
Another picket was held in front of the Ladybird’s – the biggest discounters in Poland – office in Warsaw. The aim was to draw the attention to the deteriorating working conditions in the Ladybird (Biedronka) discount stores and to avoiding the social dialogue with employees by the employer.
The employees also handed a petition to the employer. Their demands include collective bargaining of the pay rise for 2016, negotiating the changes of the regulations of remuneration, increasing the employment in Ladybird stores and distribution centers, respecting the rights of workers to organise and signing the agreement on cooperation with company’s management.
‘Ladybird is the largest employer of the retail sector in our country, which annually reaches enormous profits in Poland. Unfortunately, for a long time the Board of JMP avoids the dialogue with their employees who actually generate this profit. The management refuses negotiations on wages and hinders trade union activities’ says Piotr Adamczak, the chairman of TU Solidarity Commerce in the Company. And this needs to be changed so the people can join the Union.
Smahan Jabiri-Egan, Communications Coordinator, UNI Europa
Phone: +32 22 34 56 56