Below you will find an annual recap of our activities during the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parliamentary elections and pandemic-related campaigns, solidarity actions, two new publications on workplace struggles and anarchosyndicalism, International Week Against Unpaid Wages in Slovakia and abroad. And more.
(Not)Voting Is Not Enough
We responded to the parliamentary elections by promoting our stance towards elections in the form of stickers that were distributed in almost twenty Slovak cities and towns. We discussed the subject in various articles and the campaign itself was ended by an Election Day open meeting in Bratislava.
COVID-19 Crisis – We Are Not On The Same Boat!
We have been publishing examples of inspirational workers’ struggles during the first wave on FB. Later we published them as four weekly summaries on our website, too. Symbolically on May Day we started the Covid Crisis – We Are Not On The Same Boat campaign. The aim was to contact as many people as possible and create kind of a web of those who would like to be active. Our approach was explained in articles: Covid Crisis – Let’s Help Each Other, We Show That It Makes Sense to Fight, We Connect With Like-Minded People. A series on ‘fallacies’ was published on FB and on our website. There, we tried to debunk various bullshit claims we often encountered in everyday lives. Also, a new set of stickers was distributed encouraging workers to stand up in case of trouble in their workplaces.
International Week Against Unpaid Wages
This was our main activity in autumn, organized alongside many other organizations in the International Workers' Association. Since the very idea of the Week came from us and was agreed upon at the 2019 IWA Congress in Melbourne we felt somehow responsible while simultaneously curious on how it would turn out. The summary is published in this article – International Week Against Unpaid Wages supported by unions in 14 countries. We shall get back to these activities again betwen 12 to 18 October 2021.
CONFLICTS PRIAMA AKCIA PARTICIPATED IN
In summer, two construction workers from Eastern Slovakia asked us to help them get the money owed by their bosses. Eventually, by their own activity and pressure on the bosses they were able to get their money. This happened before the dispute entered an open conflict phase, which we consider to be a positive thing.
Also, other workers discussed workplace-related issues with us, but these did not develop into open conflicts.
Meeting in Łódź, Poland
We accepted an invitation from our comrades from ZSP to take part in their meeting in Łódź on 15th February. In the third-largest city in the country with a history of workers’ struggles mainly in print-works we discussed achievements as well as root causes of failures and important changes which took place during the existence of both unions.
20th Anniversary of Priama Akcia
We had been planning various events in Slovakia with regards to our 20th Anniversary – a music show, a promotion event for a new publication, an exhibition, a presentation on the history of anarchosyndicalism and anarchism in Slovakia after 1989 and other events. However, all of these had to be postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.
Kapitál Magazine Article
We have been asked by the editors of Kapitál magazine to contribute with an article on the topic of disobedience. The outcome was an article from our member in the March issue of the magazine on her involvement in the 2012 and 2016 education workers’ strikes.
First May English Special on the Slovak Radio Including an Interview with Priama Akcia
The English broadcast of RTVS (national radio service) called Slovakia Today prepared a very good, more than 20 minutes long special dedicated to First May. It included an interview with a member of our union, who spoke about workers’ struggles during the COVID-19 crisis. She also mentioned activities of some of the Sections of the International Workers’ Association and our campaign We Are Not On The Same Boat! (You can listen to it here: minutes 10:15 to 12:45).
NEW TITLES FROM OUR PUBLISHING HOUSE
Nakladateľstvo bod zlomu (NBZ)
Ako sme si poradili s problémami v práci: Spory zväzu Priamej akcie v rokoch 2015-2019
(How We Handled Problems At Work: Priama Akcia Conflicts 2015-2019)
On Election Day, we published a pamphlet mapping five different conflicts our union has been involved in during the years of 2015 to 2019. With an exception of one, all of them were resolved to workers’ benefit. It was crucial that these struggles were controlled by the workers themselves and followed the tactics of direct action. We were able to show that our principles work and achieve results. The free publication can be downloaded here in DOC, PDF, MOBI or EPUB.
Bojujeme za seba: Anarchosyndikalizmus a triedny boj
(Fighting for Ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle)
In winter, we published a Slovak translation of a book we can without any hesitation describe as the best introductory text on anarchosyndicalism. It is an excellent explanation of anarchosyndicalist theory, history, practice and aims. The book comprehensibly outlines the differences between anarchosyndicalism and other currents in the workers movement and brings in a valuable critique of traditional trade unions. It refutes various stereotypes stemming from a lack of information about anarchosyndicalism and anarchosyndicalist tradition in Slovakia. The text is available in print or for free in PDF, DOC, MOBI and EPUB here.
Supporting A Fired Comrade From WAS Union (Austria)
In mid-January we showed solidarity to our comrade from the Viennese union WAS. She was fired from Jugend am Werk, GmbH. We sent out a protest fax and e-mail together with other organizations. After a picket organized by WAS in front of the Jugend am Werk headquarters, the dispute was resolved and the WAS member received a big compensation.
In Solidarity With Carmen’s Fight For Reinstatement (Spain)
In April we supported comrade Carmen from CNT-AIT in Cartagena. The union started an international solidarity campaign for Carmen’s reinstatement. She had worked for WebHelp Málaga SLU. We published a protest e-mail template, company contacts and information on the background and first outcomes of the struggle. Despite the fact that Carmen was not reinstated, it does not necessarily mean that the struggle was unsuccessful.
Financial Aid For Activists Stricken By Pandemic (India)
In May we joined an appeal by MEM (IWA Friends) for financial support. They helped 15 delivery workers in informal sector who lost their income due to the pandemic.
Financial Aid For Activists Stricken By Pandemic (Slovakia)
We also provided financial aid to people who helped our union in conflicts in the past and were in a critical financial situation due to the pandemic.
Support To The Trade Unionists Fired By Ansell (Sri Lanka)
In August we sent a protest e-mail to Ansell.
In Solidarity With Roxana In A Conflict Over Unpaid Wages (Spain)
In November we supported CNT-AIT again in a conflict over unpaid wages. Roxana’s employer first cut short her working hours, then lowered her wage and even changed her place of work.
OPEN (ONLINE) MEETINGS
We had to adapt to the situation and move the open meetings from Bystro community center in Bratislava to online space. We continued discussions mainly focused on climate crisis and other activities.
Plans for 2021
We will continue with online meetings, discuss the topic of climate crisis, organize a Plenary and Extraordinary Congress of the IWA and in autumn there will be another International Week Against Unpaid Wages. We will also focus on further development of activities in regions of Slovakia where we are not present yet and if the epidemiological situation allows us to, we will organize the events postponed from 2020.