Update 25.03.2011: The CEO of OTTO agreed to new talks in Venray on Thursday. Three workers received compensation. ZSP will meet with OTTO to discuss the issues in general and is organizing informational events in different cities where many workers are recruited.
On March 21 a group of Polish workers, together with the AGA/Vrije Bond and members of the anarchosyndicalist union ZSP did an action at the headquarters of OTTO Workforce in Venray, Holland, against exploitation and bad work and living conditions. OTTO has been cheating workers from Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia working on precarious contracts in Holland.
The police followed the activists from the meeting point so they could wait for them at the OTTO headquarters. The bus was stopped and several people were arrested, the rest managing to escape and get to the headquarters. There the police and OTTO security also continued their harassment of the activists, trying to arrest the rest. Because of this, the activists couldn't express their demands to the boss of OTTO. The majority of the protestors were detained. In the end, the police ordered the bus driver to take a small group of activists back to the city they came from, escorting the bus out of Venray.
Although most of the demonstrators where brought to the police station in another city and held for some hours, we decided that we needed to go back to OTTO after people were released. Eventually one cheated worker and a couple of activists met with the CEO of OTTO who persistently denies that there are any problems. Not satisfied with this meeting, all involved vowed to continue the campaign and to return to Venray.
These last months there have been picketlines and other actions at offices and houses of workers in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Holland.The CEO of OTTO has flown to Poland twice to meet with the workers, in one case paying back part of the money deducted for fines. In the other case, he seems to have promised to correct the situation, but has done nothing.
Activists from the Vrije Bond, ZSP and PA demand that OTTO Workforce stops its system of punishments and fines for its workers. Oral and contractual promises should be lived up to. OTTO workers should get better housing and lower rent. Workers should not pay for their travel expenses and salaries should be paid ON TIME. Research from the ZSP and the AGA/Vrije Bond, based on informtion gathered from workers, shows that OTTO Workforce uses dishonest methods to intimidate and exploit its workers in an extreme way.
Please sent protests! The IWA Secretariat has sent this protest letter:
From the IWA-Secretariat
OTTO WORKFORCE! STOP FINING AND HARASSING WORKERS! PAY WHAT YOU OWE!
STOP THE EXPLOITATION OF FOREIGNER WORKERS AND STOP IGNORING THEIR COMPLAINTS!
WE WILL FOLLOW THESE CASES AND SPREAD INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR
UNACCEPTABLE PRACTICES WORLDWIDE UNTIL ALL WORKERS DEMANDS ARE FULFILLED!
Oslo, March 22nd 2011
Greetings on behalf of the Secretariat of
International Workers Association (IWA-AIT)
Rolf Petter Larsen