Polish ship workers go on hunger strike in France

3rd August 2005, Comments 0 comments

SAINT-NAZAIRE, France, Aug 2 (AFP) - Thirteen Polish workers at a French shipyard entered the fifth day Tuesday of a hunger strike for wages they claim have not been paid for two months.

SAINT-NAZAIRE, France, Aug 2 (AFP) - Thirteen Polish workers at a French shipyard entered the fifth day Tuesday of a hunger strike for wages they claim have not been paid for two months.

In a situation emblematic of the problems low-wage eastern European workers sometimes face in the West, the Polish workers at Alstom Marine's Chantiers de l'Atlantique at Saint Nazaire are locked in a dispute with the Polish recruiting company which hired and is responsible for paying them.

The French subcontractor which was responsible for supply staff to Europe's biggest shipyard, the Gestal group, said it paid the Polish recruitment company, Kliper of Szczecin, for the hire of the workers at the end of May and June.

It said it has not heard from the company since and the problem must be resolved in Poland.

The French CGT trade union said the Polish workers, three of whom started to refuse liquids on Tuesday, had been told that Kliper had gone out of business, and the problem could therefore be resolved only in France.

The CGT trade union said the dispute shows that "the time of the slave-traders still exists" in Saint Nazaire.

The Polish workers complained they have not received their salary of EUR 1,200 a month and have been given only about EUR 100 to buy food.

A representative in Poland of the Loire-Atlantique region where the shipyard is located, Wioletta Popczyk, said she had spoken to Kliper last week, and asserted "it is false to say that the workers have not been paid since their arrival" in Saint-Nazaire.

Popczyk told AFP in Warsaw, "the dispute can only be settled in Poland, in line with Polish law, because it concerns a Polish employer."

The mayor of Saint-Nazaire, Joel Batteux wrote to his opposite number in Szczecin asking him to intervene to ensure the dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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