Eastern Europe

Tesco: solidarity with Polish workers

Tesco stores across Britain and Ireland were picketed on 4 August in solidarity with two Polish agency workers sacked after protesting about conditions at a distribution centre in Dublin.

The Polish workers, Radek Sawicki and Zbyszek Bukala, had complained not only that agency workers, many of whom are Polish, receive only 2/3 the wages of contracted staff, but that they are pressganged into rapidly increasing production targets. The Irish trade union of which Sawicki is a member, SIPTU, is taking the agency to court for exploitation.

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Miners demand pension rights

On 26 July eight thousand miners from Silesia (south-west Poland) demonstrated in front of the parliament building in the Warsaw.

Members of all 13 miners’ trade unions demanded pensions rights for miners after 25 years work, regardless of their age. The miners do not want to accept a normal pension age (65) because it would mean working until their death. (The life expectancy of a Polish miner is 64.)

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Polish workers on the march

By August Grabski

About 10,000 workers demonstrated on 19 May in Warsaw, organised by the OPZZ (the former Communist trade union) and the trade union Solidarity 80.

The unions demanded an increase in a minimum wage, early retirement for employees working in unhealthy conditions and severe punishments for employers breaching the Labour Code. The largest delegation were sent by the miners’ unions from Upper Silesia (south-western Poland)

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Debate and discussion: The left acts, the right profits?

Just before and on 27 January, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, part of the Polish radical left participated in small demos in a few cities (e.g., Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk, Poznan).

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Auschwitz memorial. Poland and the Holocaust

By August Grabski*

On 27 January the presidents of Israel, Poland and Russia as well as the representatives of over 40 governments honoured the victims of the Nazi death camp in Auschwitz. Auschwitz is built near the town of Oswiecim in Poland. Here, during World War 2, the Nazis killed one million Jews, 19,000 Gypsies and 70,000 Poles and Russians.

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Support Eastern European workers!

In 1989 Mikhail Gorbachev was forced by the political and economic condition of the dying 'Soviet Union' to withdraw Russian troops from the Warsaw Pact countries. These Stalinist satellite states rapidly collapsed, the regimes overthrown by their own people. The collapse of the 'independent' Stalinist states of Yugoslavia and Albania, and the USSR followed. It was a demonstration of the power of workers and ordinary people to change history.

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The Warsaw Ghetto uprising: a desperate last stand against the Nazis

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Joan Trevor

Sixty-seven years ago this month the Nazis began their final assault on the Warsaw Ghetto, where 40,000 Jews were making a last desperate, heroic stand against Nazi barbarians determined to annihilate them. A mere remnant of Warsaw's once-large Jewish population, they had decided that it is better to die on your feet, fighting, than to die on your knees, unresisting. The Warsaw Ghetto was the first instance of an uprising by "civilians" in occupied Europe during the Second World War. Joan Trevor tells the story.

The last desperate fight of the Jews of Warsaw in 1943

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