Call in the police, win a vacuum cleaner
As the strike goes on in Budryk, the workers who have not given in are faced by attacks not only from the media, but by other trade unions.
The Solidarity branch in Budryk has been the loudest critic of the radical strikers who insist on getting equal pay. A number of comments made by their representatives stand out as particularly scummy.
Marek Szolc, a longtime activist from ATTAC, participant in European Social Forums and Polish Workers' Conferences organized by leftists and anarchists has been a member of Solidarity for 21 years and works in Budryk where he is in the Solidarity leadership structure. In a scathing attack of the Budryk strike, which he, like the bosses calls "illegal", Szolc writes of the need for the police to repress the strike.
In supporting his arguments, he parrots the mainstream media which talks about the unprofitability of the mining sector, even though Budryk is a profitable mine.
Other Solidarity activists have reminded people that many of their leaders are against "union pluralism". They have spoken to the necessity to change the Act on Trade Unions. This is most probably a reference to ideas espoused by some Solidarity leaders in the past that any workplace with more than one union in it cannot probably defend workers - what is known as a conflict in trade union pluralism.
People who want to change the Act have argued that unions should be "representative" - in other words, that a union is able to be really representative of the workers, only when one entity represents the majority of unionized employees.
The fact that in many places where there is no trade union pluralism you have extremely corrupt or yellow unions does not seem to play any role in their thinking.
For Budryk Solidarity members though, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. The union leadership may have agreed to the boss's deal, but they haven't forgotten the needs of the workers.
On Solidarity's webpages we see that "due to the difficult situation at Budryk", Solidarity's raffle prize for December will only be awarded in January. The lucky winner gets a bagless vacuum cleaner; just what every miner needs while their co-workers are on occupation strike. Presumably this prize was chosen to encourage the miners to help out with their share of the housework.
Solidarity's prizes are even shitty it turns out. Of all the prizes to offer, they decided on a Zelmer "Galaxy" - a model of vacuum cleaner which Zelmer decided to produce in China. Zelmer moved part of their production to China last year and fired over 130 workers from its Rzeszow factory.