After organizing a four-day protest in Warsaw in mid-September, Poland’s biggest labor unions have rejected an invitation to talks with the government and private employers’ representatives to discuss their postulates. “We consider talks in the commission to be only a simulation of dialogue,” union leaders wrote in their statement.
Union members protested for four days in Warsaw
The government had invited the union representatives to take part in the Tripartite Commission, an institution established to foster social dialogue between the government, labor unions and private employers’ representatives.
The union members had originally walked out of the Tripartite Commission discussions back in June complaining that the government was ignoring their postulates and only feigning real negotiations. They also insisted that Prime Minister Donald Tusk fire Labor Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, a demand Mr Tusk has refused to comply with.
During the Warsaw protests, union activists had demanded more spending on education and higher minimum wages. They also called for the government to stop firing teachers and closing schools, refrain from raising the retirement age and rescind its recently adopted labor code amendment which allows employers to calculate overtime more flexibly. This last postulate has been particularly emphasized by the labor union leaders.
“I am appealing to the labor unions to take part in this debate. I am sure the employers’ representatives will also address these postulates,” Mr Kosiniak-Kamysz said after the Tripartite Commission meeting, which was attended by Deputy PM and Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski. The labor minister also added that the government would address the unions’ demands “in the nearest weeks.”
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