We would like to ask you to show solidarity with Mia, who is together with Priama akcia in conflict with Space Mania café. You can send a protest e-mail directly to the boss Viera Pierce, who refuses to pay owed money to her former worker Mia. The total owed sum is 222.44 €. Since October 2017, Mia has been trying to get her unpaid wage, but her boss ignored her written requests as well as protest actions she organized together with her friend in front of the café. In December 2017 Priama akcia entered into the conflict concerning Mia's unpaid wage. The article contains all the background details a a template of a protest e-mail.
HOW TO SUPPORT THE CONFLICT
Please, add our e-mail zvazpa (at) riseup.net as BCC.
E-mail template for organizations (for individuals, please change “we” to “I” and, in general, feel free to change the content as you wish):
Dear Ms. Pearce,
we were informed that our sister organization Priama akcia (IWA/AIT Slovakia) entered a conflict with Space Mania café over unpaid wages belonging to your ex-worker Mia.
Hereby, we express our support to Mia and Priama akcia union. We will support all their activities until you pay the owed wages in the amount of 222.44 €. We will also inform the public in this country about your practice.
We expect your reply to this e-mail.
More information about the conflict
Mia worked in the café from the end of August until the end of September 2017.
“I found the job on a Facebook page. Viera Pearce was looking for a waitress to work full-time or on a student-work contract. I called her and expressed my interest so we agreed to meet the next day. At the interview, she told me that I would receive a temporary contract and after October I would receive a full-time contract. She even told me I would earn 500 – 550 €/month. I was supposed to sign in at 9:40 or 9:45 (the cafe opens at 10:00), despite the fact that I used to be at the café an hour or more before 10:00. I was employed as a waitress, but each day I also worked as a cleaner.”
Mia felt that the trial period was going well. She liked her job and her boss told her several times that she was happy with her.
“She praised me several times. One night I was out with friends and we met her at a local bar. She even praised me in front of everyone and told them what a good worker I was.”
At the end of September Mia received unexpected news.
“On the 26th of September I got a call from my boss, who said someone complained about me and that I’m to lock up and hand in my keys. This surprised me because no one was at the café so there was no one to complain. Everyone was saying how accomplished I was and so on. When I asked her who made the complaint, she stayed quiet and hung up. I texted her saying OK, I handed in my keys and I would like wages for my work. She replied that she would pay me on October 30th (it was in my contract that wages are paid on the 30th of the following month). I said okay.”
Even though Mia was disappointed by her boss’s behavior and was in a bad financial situation, she felt that even if she wanted her money earlier, her boss would not pay. Therefore she waited until October. On October 27th she received a text from her boss to come for her wages. However, on the spot she only received 70 €, after working for 20 days. Her boss said the amount corresponds to 40 hours of work. When Mia objected that she worked more than 40 hours and asked to see the attendance sheet, her boss stated that she did not have it. She then demanded that Mia sign her paycheck immediately or she won’t even receive the 70 €.
Mia decided to sign the paycheck so she would receive at least some money. Later that day she told her story to a friend who she knew would listen to her and support her. Together they tried to get in touch with the boss through text messages, phone, e-mail, but without success. However, they did not stop there and decided to organize direct protest actions.
Together they staged pickets in front of the café, which visibly upset her boss. They had to endure jeers and insults from the boss’s husband who even filmed them. Still, they endured and showed up almost every day. The boss would regularly call the police and tell the officers that Mia was stealing from her when she was employed, even though the boss herself counted the money every day and everything was always in order. Furthermore, the boss complained that the two protesters were scaring children in the café and disturbing public order. Later she even threatened them with a criminal complaint. However, the boss’s actions did not deter them from further protests.
INVOLVEMENT OF PRIAMA AKCIA
When Mia and her friend learned about the activities of Priama akcia, they approached us. We met and discussed the whole situation. It turned out that Mia had worked 123 hours and that she was entitled to more than just 70 €. She even had her whole attendance, as she kept her own record at home. She also had photos from the official attendance, which proved that Viera Pearce had no intention to obey the Labor Code which only allows 10 work hours per week on Mia's contract (Mia’s work time exceeded 10 hours on her second day already!). Together we made a detailed calculation and decided that we would present it to the boss with a clearly stated demand.
On December 22nd, 2017 Mia, together with group of Priama akcia members and supporters, handed in her demand letter to the boss’s husband (since the boss herself was not there). He acted as if the problem did not concern him, claimed that it was his wife’s issue and refused to take the letter. We told him that we would leave the letter on the ground in front of the café and despite him acting like he didn’t care, he immediately picked it up after we left. Suddenly, the same night, Mia’s ex-boss came back to life and texted Mia with a proposal to come to an agreement. Her idea of an agreement was for Mia to meet with four lawyers of Space Mania! But this is not the way to go. Since the owed sum of 222.44 € was not paid by the deadline set in the letter, Priama akcia has entered into conflict with Space Mania and we will continue until Mia receives the money that belongs to her.
Thank zou for your solidarity!
Slovak Section of the International Workers’ Association (IWA/AIT)