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Support a worker in a wage theft conflict with CATO Agency (Update: conflict won!)

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MT
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Joined: 29-03-07
Jun 1 2016 07:53
Support a worker in a wage theft conflict with CATO Agency (Update: conflict won!)

Support a worker in a wage theft conflict with CATO Agency


Priama akcia entered a wage theft conflict against CATO Agency which has not paid one of its workers. We would like to ask your organization, as well as your members and supporters, to send protest e-mails to CATO Agency. The more people send an e-mail, the better. The international e-mail campaign starts on June 1st and lasts until June 7th.

Ways of showing solidarity

We have created a template of the protest email (you can change it if you like):

Subject: I support Martin and demand the wage owed is paid to him by CATO Agency

I am writing to protest against the wage theft of Cato Agency, which did not pay to Martin 190 € for the work he had done. I expect you will act responsibly and pay the owed wage swiftly. Otherwise I will spread information about your business practices.

I am surprised by your behaviour. Wage theft is not only a crime but also morally improper behaviour. I think that 190 € is not an amount which would destroy your company. However, for Martin as a student it is a significant sum and, moreover, it is the money for work he had done and thus he is entitled to it based on the contract with Cato Agency.

I express my support to Martin and the campaign aimed at getting his salary. If necessary, I will help this campaign also in other ways.

[Name, Organization, Country]

The text can be sent in two ways:

1. E-mail:

Send it as a regular e-mail to the following addresses:

info@catoagency.sk, kasparovaveronika@catoagency.sk, veronika.kaspar@artfilmfest.sk

Please, put our email address ba (at) priamaakcia.sk in the BCC as well.

2. E-form: http://soli.priamaakcia.sk/email-cato-EN/

It contains the template already, just fill the mandatory fields marked with * and send.

MORE INFORMATION

Cato Agency

Cato Agency is a company which offers services in the field of modeling, promos and hostessing. Their manging directors are Štefan Šmihuľa and Veronika Šmihuľová Kašpar, who is currently also responsible for public relations and marketing of the international film festival Art Film Fest which takes place between 17th and 25th June 2016 in Košice (the second largest city in Slovakia located in the east of Slovakia).

Development of the conflict

Martin worked for CATO Agency as an unloader of animal food for Royal Canin between July 2015 and March 2016. Since November 2015, he also worked as a products promoter. Most of his wages came late and while he realized the company was acting unlawfully, he did not know what to do in such a situation and tolerated late payments, since the money always came eventually.

In mid-March he received a phone call from the company director Veronika Šmihuľová Kašpar saying that she would not be sending him his February wage because he had allegedly caused a damage by placing the animal food on shelves in the wrong order and thus the food with short expiry date was not sold (although she provided no evidence).

Two weeks later, she contacted him with a really peculiar proposal: Martin should continue working for her in April and May but she wouldn’t pay him anything because of the damage. In other words, the boss “proposed” that she would not pay him the money she was already owing him and on top of that, he should work for her for free for the next two months.

After this, Martin decided that he would not tolerate these peculiar business practices of CATO Agency and contacted Priama akcia. He also informed the boss that he refused her “proposal”.

Martin also sent a letter (asking the boss to pay his wage) to the address of CATO Agency published on its website. When the letter returned, he realized that the address on the website is not the same as the one in the Business Register. Therefore, to be sure, we decided to deliver the letter in person to the real address in Košice. However, no-one opened, so we left the letter in the mailbox and also sent it to the e-mail contacts of the company and the boss Veronika Šmihuľová Kašpar.

Since she did not pay, we published an article about the conflict with CATO Agency on our website. Almost immediately a lawyer called Martin. When money was mentioned, the lawyer cited a different amount than the boss in her communication in March. After that Martin had another phone call, this time from the boss herself. She claimed that everything was already paid in February.

Later, she also sent an overview of payments she had made. However, it was apparent that she had made some mistakes. The most bewildering was her claim that she paid Martin for February and March already in February! (Martin received the last payment on 24th February for work done in December 2015 and January 2016. The boss claimed that this money was for February and March 2016, although at the time of payment she had no idea how many hours he had worked in February, let alone in March!) By the way, late payments (i.e. for the last two months at once) was a common practice in CATO Agency, although it is against the law (specifically § 129 of the Labour Code).

After this, Martin decided to prepare a similar overview of hours worked and payments received. The boss reacted unexpectedly: while she did not in any way dispute the facts, she wrote to Martin that he should communicate with her directly (and not through Priama akcia) if he has any wage-related questions. Thus, she clearly showed that she is not willing to pay what she owes and gave us no other option but to take further steps. The first step is this public appeal to protest against the practices of CATO Agency by sending an e-mail.

Martin only demands what rightly belongs to him: the payment for work done in the amount of 190 €. The longer the director refuses to pay the wages, the longer the conflict lasts.

Thank you for your solidarity!

Priama akcia
Slovak section of the International Workers’ Association (IWA/AIT)

Source: Priama akcia (IWA) website

UPDATE (29th June 2016):
The conflict was won by Priama akcia. See the full story at the IWA-AIT website

syndicalist
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Joined: 15-04-06
Jun 1 2016 23:29

Metro New York / NJ W.S.A. sent emails. Solidarity comrades!

MT
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Joined: 29-03-07
Jun 5 2016 14:12

Thanks for the support! This is a real solidarity in the conflict and it matters.

I only wonder why there is no support from UK yet... Perhaps the "organize" part of libcom website is not so much visited. Or people think that sending an email is not effective. Or perhaps there are other reasons, but it certainly would be interesting to know. It would be great if comrades reading this wrote their opinion.

akai
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Joined: 29-09-06
Jun 5 2016 14:17

sad

MT
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Joined: 29-03-07
Jun 6 2016 10:39

It seems that no-one read this thread in last 20 hours. Or I am wrong, but that would open quite a lot of questions related to international solidarity and role of libcom "community" in it...

wojtek
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Joined: 8-01-11
Jun 6 2016 14:02

Will send an email, good luck!

MT
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Joined: 29-03-07
Jun 29 2016 17:38

Hi comrades, the conflict was won by Priama akcia. See the full story at the IWA-AIT website
Thanks to all of you who showed solidarity!

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Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 29 2016 22:14

Hey, this is great news thanks for the update.

In terms of our organise forum, it gets around 4000 views per month. Most people who read things don't comment (indeed most people who view things don't even have an account on libcom).

As comments to forums have fallen generally, with the redesign of the site we are looking at ways of making it easier to comment, to try to encourage more people to do so

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
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Joined: 7-08-06
Jun 29 2016 22:22

With these types of actions, why don't the libcom group share it on Twitter, FB etc?

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Jun 29 2016 23:44
Khawaga wrote:
With these types of actions, why don't the libcom group share it on Twitter, FB etc?

We would, however unfortunately we don't have enough time to adequately keep posting enough to our social media outlets. We would talking about this internally actually. If anyone would like to help us with our Facebook or Twitter pages it would be much appreciated

syndicalist
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Joined: 15-04-06
Jun 30 2016 00:36

Glad the struggle worked out. Solidarity!

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Chilli Sauce
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Joined: 5-10-07
Jun 30 2016 04:07

Congrats!