When we face a problem at work and think about how to solve it, more often than not we face difficulties. Sometimes we manage to work them out quickly, other times it can be really demanding or even more than we can handle. Still, it’s almost always true, that it is easier when there’s more of us and we act together. Therefore we reach out to you – to everyone who wants to actively solve problems in the workplace and share their experience. Let’s help each other. Hereby we also introduce the first point of our campaign „COVID-19 Crisis: We are not on the same boat!“ dedicated to the consequences of the pandemic for workers.
Why we came up with this appeal
We cannot rely on help from the state and empty words about how we are in this together and how we will make it through. Of course, will we make it through, but what will be the consequences? Seeing what bosses dare to do now, we think a response is necessary. As a union, we have been handling workplace related problems for some time and won in several conflicts.
Of course, we also understand that people are feeling powerless. Nonetheless, our experience is different, since we know the power that we have when we act together and collectively. Therefore, we would like to encourage you – sometimes it is perfectly fine to ask for advice or help from others.
We advised dozens of people. Many times they felt like they had tried everything but achieved no results because their bosses would either ignore them or delay solving the issue. In these types of situations we always try to point to other possibilities. From the very beginning, we say that our focus is not on providing legal help (that’s something other organisations do) but on solving problems on our own.
How we proceed
When someone shows interest in actively fighting to improve their situation, we meet and discuss the background of the problem. We bring together relevant documents concerning the given problem (contracts, payroll slips, etc.) and if we reach a consensus that it makes sense to enter the conflict, we begin to plan our next steps.
Throughout the conflict, we regularly meet and discuss the course of further actions. When we organize a protest, we are always there together – we never act for someone. This way we simultaneously acquire experience, which in turn helps us to organise more effectively and coordinate more demanding actions in the future.
Our conflicts are conducted as direct (protest) actions, which have shown to be more effective and brought results faster. Hitherto we succeeded in every action in which the workers stuck to the course we agreed upon. And we never had to rely on courts.
In November 2015, we entered a conflict with the non-governmental organization Divé maky that owed money to ex-employee Michal. After three months of activities, together with him and support from people from Slovakia as well as abroad, we achieved that the whole sum was paid.
In May 2016, a conflict with CATO Agency followed. This time it was a dispute over the unpaid salary of a former employee Martin. The direct action tactic was successful again: After less than a month of solidarity activities, the company paid back the money they owed.
In both cases we collectively handed over a letter with demands to the boss. If they did not meet the demands within the deadline, we published information about their practices and appealed to people in Slovakia and abroad to send protest emails. We also informed their partner organisations and clients about their practices.
These conflicts lasted for a few weeks but for example the conflict with the pizzeria Lozano Pub in the year 2017 ended after just three days, when the owner paid his ex-employee Martin his unused holiday pay, which he had owed him for nearly a year.
In March 2019 we even achieved the payment of salary and compensation of salary already before the actual conflict started. The owner of a bistro owed over 500 € to her ex-employee Jakub. 19 days after handing over the letter with demands, he received them thanks to our activities.
GET IN TOUCH!
• In case you have a problem at work that you want to actively solve...
• In case you managed to resolve a problem at work and would like to share your experience...
• In case you want to know more about how we function...
... contact us using one of the options here: https://www.priamaakcia.sk/kategoria/o-nas-kontakt/.
We will be happy if you inform about our COVID-19 crisis campaign and share it on social media. The second point of the campaign will be about why fighting the bosses back makes sense and will be published soon.