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Silesian workers in 'general strike' against government policy

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 26.03.2013 08:36
Up to 100,000 workers in the industrial Silesia region went on strike Tuesday morning in protest over the government's labour, health and education policies.

Protest outside Katowice railway station, Tuesday morning: photo - PAP / Andrzej Grygiel

Workers at steel mills, mines and electricity plants downed tools till 10 am, with the transport sector paralysed for two hours from 8 am.

The strike is most intensive in the city of Katowice and surrounding area in south west Poland.

Around 20 hospitals have been hit by a work-to-rule or 'Italian strike” as it is known in Poland, lengthening the time it takes to register new patients.

The 'general strike' is being organised by the Solidarity, August 80 and OPZZ trade unions against proposed changes to the labour code which would extend the use of 'junk' employment contracts and which limit employment rights and reduce overtime payments, say the unionists, and against the government's health policy and changes to the education system.

“The strike is a yellow [warning] card to the government, who, for six years, has humiliated workers and the public,” Silesian Solidarity trade union boss Dominik Kolorz told the PAP news agency.

"I believe that this will be a clear signal to the rest of the country, that you can fight for your dignity and rights,” he said.

“This is the beginning of strike action that will lead to changes in the socio-economic policy of the government,” August 80 trade union chief Boguslaw Zietek said.

“We expect a new round of talks [with the government], he added, claiming "the strike will be 100 percent supported." (pg)

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