European trade unions hail successful organising action at Amcor in Poland
Following a hard-fought organising campaign, workers succeeded in a forming union at previously unorganised Amcor plants in Poland, and a delegation of UNI Europa Graphical & Packaging and IndustriAll Europe trade unions met the new union members in Łodź to celebrate their achievement.
The delegation of members and officers from Poland, Germany, Spain and France also exchanged lessons learned and best practices for future organizing efforts. There is an ongoing effort to encourage Polish Amcor workers to join the established union and to form new chapters at other facilities.
This successful campaign shows trade unions’ commitment to regain collective power for better working conditions in the wake of the economic crisis and austerity policies. The effort was supported by COZZ (Central European Organising Centre) and international trade union solidarity.
So far, workers formed a union at two plants: Amcor Tobacco Packaging and Amcor Flexibles Reflex in Łodź, where membership continues to grow steadily.
A combination of high-level commitment from both Polish workers on site, COZZ expert organisers as well as international support provided by worker representatives at Amcor European Works Council and trade unions from all over Europe and beyond helped usher in this success.
For example, on the day the setting up of the first trade union was officially announced to Amcor management, about 40 trade unions from all over the world sent solidarity messages to the new Polish union and acknowledged its establishment vis-avis Amcor management. Additionally, steps were then taken to ensure the integration of the new Polish trade unions in the European trade union structures and the European Works Council.
What has been achieved at Amcor plants in Poland also illustrates the trade unions’ commitment to stand united across borders, and to join forces in recruiting and organising workers. The meeting in Łodź constituted a new opportunity for UNI Europa Graphical & Packaging and IndustriAll Europe affiliated organisations to demonstrate their solidarity and support the organising actions as well as the establishment of social dialogue in Amcor sites.
Being affiliated to KRZZP Związek Zawodowy Poligrafow (Polish Trade Union Federation for Graphical Workers), the new unions enjoy full recognition for collective bargaining purposes, and are working towards their first collective bargaining agreement to improve the Polish workers’ conditions.
The coalition of European trade unions is confident that the new trade union structures in Poland will lead improve social dialogue, and equally benefit workers and the company.