DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Will Plaza Pay up? Protest at Plaza Centers and Torun Plaza

Will Plaza Pay up? Protest at Plaza Centers and Torun Plaza

Again subcontracted construction workers get the shaft.

Some workers on the Torun Plaza shopping mall construction site have not got their salary for 2-3 months. This is because Plaza Centers, an international real estate development firm, has not paid the general contractor, which is turn has not made the subcontractors. Workers at the bottom of this pyramid, who earn the minimum wage of less than 350 euros a month, have to hear that "sorry, we haven't been paid".

Such problems are common, with the companies at the top usually using the excuse that the ones on the bottom aren't even their employees. But here the responsibility can clearly be traced to Plaza Centers.

The ZSP took action and went to visit the headquarters of Plaza Centers. Unfortunately, nobody there wanted to talk to us, quickly panicking and calling the security. A leafleting action followed in front of their office. The next day there was also an action on the construction site in Torun. There workers discussed what could be done and what the next steps should be. A delegate from ZSP stressed that direct action was the best method to force the bosses to pay up, but of course it could help workers file cases in court for payment. However people were warned that this could take a long time and if the company declared insolvency, they could be left with nothing. Furthermore, undocumented overtime work is common, and the workers might have a problem evidencing this in court. Direct action, namely a wildcat strike, was advised. Some seemed to be in favour.

The ZSP declared that if the workers are not paid, it will support any actions they would take, including blocking the grand opening of the shopping mall. More actions are being organized.

Plaza Centers refused to give any comment to the press on the situation.

More details on Plaza Centers: http://www.zsp.net.pl/plaza_centers

Posted By

akai
Sep 25 2011 16:56

Share

Attached files

Comments

carlosjohansson
Sep 25 2011 23:31

The government should do something about this. The workers at the bottom of the pyramid are the ones who suffer which is bad because they are the ones who do most of the work.

Chilli Sauce
Sep 26 2011 06:54

Carlos, I mean I guess, but the government is only going to listen if we force them to, which is why campaigns like these are so importantly.

terence
Sep 26 2011 11:58

We as workers in South Africa working as call takers /dispatchers in the police service are paid a pittance for the work we do,we are working 12 hour shifts four times a week and some of us have been on a level 3 salary for 8 years with no hope of ever being promoted we earn a salary of R71000.00 pa. whilst other call takers in the municipality starts with a salary level 3 on 119000.00 pa and they are only call takers while we have to do crime scenes and dispatching for R71000.00 pa and to top it all the working conditions is miltaristic because our shift managers are police captains some of whom were trained by the apartheid regime and now they think they can enforce that apartheid police mentality down on us civilian members employed under the public service act in the South African Police Services I must say our working conditions are harsh even when a worker is off sick they go and see if the worker is really sick and if the worker can stand they take that worker to work while the worker is suffering from high blood pressure,workers had heart attacks at work and had to be rushed from there.

terence
Sep 26 2011 12:00

I would like to know how do we get rid of factory tribalism in the workplace.

plasmatelly
Sep 26 2011 21:22

@terence - "I would like to know how do we get rid of factory tribalism in the workplace"

how do you mean mate?

akai
Oct 18 2011 07:47

Actually there's an update on this. We made a couple of pickets here in Warsaw at the head office and in Silesia at some shopping malls. Some other groups also joined in. At first, right after this news was picked up by the press, Plaza didn't want to comment. The subcontracting firms all placed the blame on the others. Later Plaza made a press release saying that it didn't owe the subcontractors money and that the subcontractors had paid the workers, which contradicted statements made just 2 days earlier by the subcontractors, who admitted that workers were owed money.

In the meanwhile, we found out that liquidity problems had also forced them to abandon some projects in Romania. They are looking for investors.

On the work site, people who wanted to strike had problems. Some workers were using individual methods, including "having accidents" or just quitting. (We did not recommend that type of resignation without a struggle, but people were doing it.) A lot of people left the job, meaning that there was a chance that the mall would not be completed in time for the Christmas shopping orgy.

After some pickets on Friday and Saturday, on Monday we were contacted by somebody from Plaza who said they want to settle with the workers. A meeting is arranged in Torun and upper management are flying in from Israel for it, so we suspect they might be serious about settling the issue. We hope it will work out.

akai
Oct 18 2011 08:53

More update (because negotiations were started today)

Workers got a partial payment and were ensured that they would get the rest of the money owed. In the meanwhile, the company is trying to hire more workers to complete the mall on time. Of course they need to be aware of the situation.

The press wrote again about the pickets http://www.strefabiznesu.pomorska.pl/artykul/zatrudnieni-przy-budowie-plaza-torun-dostana-pensje-70164.html. It also came out that the press release Plaza made claiming that none of the subcontractors owed workers money was of course untrue and the head of one of the subcontractor companies explained that they couldn't pay because they never received payment.

Of course receiving only partial payment is not cool and we would expect that the full amount be regulated ASAP. If not, it is back to actions as planned, including the blockade of the mall opening. Right now it is also important that if people are not paid, we warn other workers not to get tricked and go to work at the site where they may never see their salary.

zaczek
Oct 18 2011 11:36

It seems that Libcom has a certain power to get on capitalist's nerves. This libcom article appeared on Google Finance: http://www.google.com/finance?q=LONtongueLAZ and the bosses claim they lost 15 million euro on the stock exchange because of this.

The big boss in person came by plane to Poland to negotiate and settle this issue. The workers might get paid very soon.

zaczek
Oct 18 2011 11:42

the link above is broken by the smiley replacement it should be : followed by P