A week-long strike waged by the workers of the Paroc Polska plant in Trzemeszno, Poland, successfully ended in the early hours of Wednesday, August 11 after the management accepted the major demands raised by the workers. Paroc Polska is a producer of stone wool insulation and is part of US-based Owens Corning.
The Trzemeszno plant workers started their strike on August 4 under the coordination of the Labor Confederation at Trzemeszno, demanding an end to the abuse of temporary contracts, increased internship allowances, and a hike in the annual salary indexation. Leftist parliament member Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk and the Polish left-wing coalition Lewica Razem supported the workers throughout their strike.
According to reports by Strajk.eu, the negotiations between the Paroc management and the workers representatives, mediated by members of an independent advocate consortium, resulted in an agreement for a gross increase in workers pay by PLN 250 (USD 64.08) for this year and an additional PLN 300 (USD 76.90) for the next two year each. According to the agreement, those who have worked at Paroc Polska for five years will receive an internship allowance of PLN 140 (USD 35.88) and those with 15 years of experience will receive PLN 420 (USD 107.65). The internship allowance is currently only PLN 70 (USD 17.94). The management of the 780-staffed plant in Trzemeszno has also agreed to extend the temporary contracts of workers on the basis of tests.
This success of the workers at Trzemeszno is being regarded as a great milestone in the Polish working class’ recent history. The Paroc Group is an international producer of stone wool insulation and the Polish branch of the company at Trzemeszno is a major production center in the industry. Even though the company has seen a streak of record profits, the management was reluctant to give employees their share of the benefits until they went on strike.
Following the successful negotiations, on Tuesday, the Trzemeszno Labor Confederation posted on Facebook, “We negotiated for 15 hours today. We conducted the interviews for a total of one year. On the way there were negotiations, mediation, two referendums, a warning strike and a general strike. The latter has just ended, because we have achieved all our goals. Wages will be properly indexed, internship bonuses will increase several times, and junk contracts will be systematically limited. What the crew showed was the power of unity and the power of consistency. We have it!”
Andrzej Radzikowski, chairman of the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ), congratulated the trade unionists from the Trzemeszno Labor Confederation for their “persistence and determination in fighting for their rights.”
“I know that it was a difficult and very nervous situation for many employees participating in this protest. But it also shows that where there is determination and solidarity, you can count on success. This is a good example for our other trade unions. Entrepreneurs who do not meet the expectations of the staff in terms of wages and working conditions, treat their subordinates badly, and must take into account the firm protest of their crews. As the headquarters, we will support all such activities,” he added.