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International solidarity - more than a slogan
RECENTLY, WORKERS for the Mondi Company in Slovakia, who were fired by management for setting up a genuine trade union and demanding higher wages, won an important court case. The Slovakian court ruled that the sackings were illegal and that Mondi has to take the striking workers back and pay them wages for the last eight months.
The international solidarity campaign for the Mondi workers, in particular, in the Czech Republic and Austria, played a key part in leading to this successful conclusion. SONJA GRUSCH, from the Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria), reports on the solidarity campaign in that country.
IN THE last few months, the multinational company Mondi came under increasing pressure from an international campaign in solidarity with dismissed workers in Mondi's Slovakian plant in Ruzomberok.
Mondi has two plants in Austria, where East European expansion of the EU, and the threat of competition based on cheaper labour and costs from the East, is discussed heatedly by many Austrians.
During last month, we organised activities to inform people about Mondi's disgusting behaviour and to put pressure on the management. We organised pickets at the Viennese sales offices, as well as in front of the offices of Veit Sorger, from the supervisory board of Mondi.
We fly-posted and had a joint meeting with colleagues from Ruzomberok in Vienna. Together with the Slovakian workers we picketed the company's factory in Hausmening, handing out leaflets that explained that the best way to save jobs in Austria is to support the workers in Slovakia in their struggle - to fight for jobs, decent wages and conditions, and for union rights, everywhere.
The Mondi Company were worried about the international solidarity campaign and started putting extra money into its public relations, without success. Unfortunately, the Mondi workers' union in Austria did nothing to support the strikers.
On 28 June, Austrian television had a 30-minute programme on the dispute, watched by 351,000 people who learnt about the successful court case.
This case shows that international workers' solidarity is more then a slogan - it is the most effective weapon to fight against cuts and layoffs!
In The Socialist 7 July 2005: