A well-known telecommunications company, who would not like to read its name here, but may do so soon, retained a well-known consulting firm for an assignment. This consulting firm, who would similarly prefer to not read its name here, though it may just the same come soon to light, retained in turn a IT company to complete this assignment. It should come as no surprise that this IT firm would also have its name kept in the shadows, even if it will soon be readable here. At the end of the chain rests a relatively small SeaMoX Information Technologies Corporation (SeaMoX) from Kaisermühlen, which seeks skilled laborers internationally and brings them to Vienna with myriad promises.
It is also a story of modern IT capitalism: specialists from Southern Europe sought after in the entire continent, paid well by the hour, typically treated with respect, must nevertheless precariously claw after short-term contracts. As a result, they are even cheaper than a full-time engineer in Munich, Milan, or Vienna. An appointment for a project here, a free labour contract there. Sometimes from home, other times a few days in the office in one of Europe’s metropoles. In this manner, they hustle through the offices of Europe’s big corporations. In the case at hand, our Spanish comrade was employed as a subcontractor below three other subcontractors for a large telecommunications firm in Vienna!
Ensnared, betrayed, and sold: between Airbnb, the flights, unpaid sick leave, the family at home, and the advantages of HomeOffice (at that time still pre-Corona). At the end, the company of a Viennese businessman, which benefits from this snafu: as soon as its subcontractors are only three days in Vienna, but have spent four days outside of Austria in the EU, the employee is no longer able to receive Austrian social insurance. Offshoring quickly saves 30% of the employer’s expenses. Employee dispatch means something in the language of social insurance, at the construction it’s certainly no foreign word – in IT it’s an innovation! That is SeaMoX’s offer according to its website. That our Spanisch comrade was employed in this way is disputed by the firm because he supposedly was an independent contractor. In the office at certain, previously stipulated times with the PC of a subcontractor – so much is clear. So in the end effect just another case of classic illegal work?
Thanks to the painstaking work of WAS and the affected comrade himself it became clear, that it was in fact not a matter of self-employment. First, our research has shown that still more subcontractors have exploited the placement of their workers than was previously known. And after all the directives and heteronomy remains only one interpretation left over: the comrade in Vienna was engaged in dependent employment under normal terms. And his wage from November to December 2019 is still outstanding! Our comrade hasn’t seen a single cent from SeaMoX despite having spent over €1100 for flights and accommodations. For these reasons we are calling our first demonstration on Wednesday, October 14th 2020 at 17:00 at the Rudolf-Nurejew-Promenade 1, in front of SeaMoX (and directly adjacent to the Police Station Kaisermühlen, next to the U1 Kaisermühlen).
Wir expect from SeaMoX an apology for their course of action in this case. We demand from SeaMoX at once to pay the outstanding wages and to register our comrade for social insurance. We advise SeaMoX urgently to abstain from this business practice ruining the social system. Against exploitation! Against capitalism! Against climate destruction!
Our action is part of the international week of action by the IWA against unpaid wages! We thank our sister unions, which worked with us in this case. Thanks to the CNT-AIT (ES) and the ARS from Varna (BG).
And we aren’t softening our approach: if SeaMoX fails to find a solution this week, then we won’t shy away from revealing the involvement of the big name firm and from letting further actions follow! If Viennese cost accountants have thought of financing their ski trips through this practice, then we organized anarchosyndicalists answer: not with us! not in this city!