Solidarity is Strength- Reinstate Natalia Szymanska Now!


Pickets escalate against the sacking of Subway migrant worker Natalia Szymanska in Belfast.

Pickets against a Subway franchise have been continuing for several weeks, despite intimidating and threatening behaviour by Subway bosses. Attempting to impose a court injunction against pickets outside its premises on Great Victoria Street and Lisburn Road.

Labour Youth also organised a picket outside Nassau Street Subway on Wednesday 3rd December. The WSM also participated in the picket.

On Friday, at noon, 20-30 people held a successful picket outside its franchise on Great Victoria Street in Belfast City Centre organised by the Belfast District & Trades Council.

Natalia Szymanska, a 19 year old Polish woman was sacked from Lisburn Road Subway franchise in her fifth month of pregnancy on a dubious charge of being in breach of the company’s health and safety policy.

Subway’s Reason for Dismissing Natalia

Extract from the letter dismissing Natalia signed by the Managing Director Subway:

‘Having listened to your explanation I considered it to be unsatisfactory because, as notified to all employees and posted on the notice boards in store, the following Health and Safety regulation was blatantly disregarded:

‘The only personnel allowed to be on the premises are those members of staff that are on duty and clocked in to do the opening and closing duties. (…) No unauthorised members of staff, friends or family members are to be on the premises.’

I listened to your explanations at the hearing but you failed to provide any mitigating circumstances and I have to take into account the fact that you are employed in a position of trust and responsibility.

There is no doubt that Andrzej was present in store without authorisation as this was shown on our CCTV, you therefore disregarded the Health and Safety regulations and as such we have lost trust and confidence in you in your position of Supervisor. As a consequence therefore, I have decided that your employment should be terminated.’

Extract from Natalia’s letter of Appeal:

I wish to appeal the decision to dismiss me on the following grounds:-

1. That the level of disciplinary action was overly excessive.

2. Senior management were aware that my boyfriend Andrzej, who was also an employee of G. G. Cuisine, would call into the shop to escort me home as my shift ended at 10pm and he was concerned for my safety especially given my condition. At no time did management inform Andrzej or me that he should not do this.

3. I believe that the real reason for my dismissal was due to the fact that I had recently informed G. G. Cuisine that I was pregnant.

It is the representative’s view that the appeal conducted by the Financial Director was not fair as it did not address the central point of Natalia’s case i.e. that senior management previously accepted that Natalia’s partner, who was also a Subway employee, regularly came to the shop as she was pregnant.

One month after she informed the employer that she was pregnant Natalia was sacked.

CCTV recordings and other evidence which would prove that Natalia was correct were denied to the representatives.

The BD&TC are calling for Subway to;

• immediately reinstate the pregnant worker,
• reimburse her for loss of earnings,
• compensate her for the injury to feeling,
• treat all workers fairly.

What can you do?

Join pickets organised by the Belfast District & Trades Council

Spread the struggle outside Belfast by building solidarity with Subway workers and picket your local franchise.

Pass a support motion in your local trade union branch

Sign the online petition

The Class War continues

Meanwhile, workers at French owned Calcast car parts factory in Derry won concessions to their redundancy package, after taking militant direct action.

Workers were forced to organised a sit in for 2 days, after objecting to the offer of one month's statutory redundancy notice, rather than the expected three.
Under the new deal, they will still leave after 30 days but with an enhanced redundancy package.

Colleagues at a Belfast plant had also refused to ship car parts in solidarity during the workers occupation.

The Unite union have also threatened to escalate industrial action after hundreds of NHS workers, from paramedics to maintenance staged a “work-to rule” protest on Wednesday 3rd December in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Following their latest pay deal that amounts to an increase of around 2.5% per year

The struggle to improve our wages and conditions, is a struggle against the capitalism system and its violent upholders the state. As anarchists, we reject the distinction between good vrs bad employers as futile and ignoring the root cause of the problem.

We have nothing in common with our bosses, weather private or state. A relationship that is based on wage slavery in which we are forced to sell our labour and liberty to an employer or survive on the pittance of the ‘welfare state’.

The only realisable and attainable solution to our problems is when we the working-class our in control of our own destiny; when everyone has an equal access to the social wealth created by the combined labour of our class, furfilling our needs and desires; to each according from each according to his/her ability to each according to his/her needs- that’s anarchist communism.