As part of an International Day of Action, unions are gathering today in Warsaw, Poland, outside of the headquarters of Orpea to protest at the healthcare provider’s treatment of its workforce, and in particular the illegal dismissal of Anna Bacia.
The protest is being organised by OPZZ Konfederacja Pracy with the full support of the Orpea Union Alliance and UNICARE, the UNI Global Union sector which represents care workers in private healthcare.
The unions are calling on Orpea to immediately reinstate Anna Bacia who was dismissed on trumped up charges, solely because she became a union representative. Anna, a physiotherapist with 16 years-service at Orpea, and a single mother of two children, was sacked on 10th April.
Head of UNICARE, Adrian Durtschi said, “What’s especially hypocritical is that Orpea Poland responded to a letter from UNI raising concerns about their behaviour just days before Anna’s dismissal, saying they were committed to social dialogue and engaging with the unions!”
UNI Deputy General Secretary, Alke Boessiger, said, “Orpea’s behaviour towards Anna and its cynical anti-union behaviour is unacceptable. We urge Orpea management to engage with UNI and its affiliates. Orpea projects itself as a caring company of the future, whilst treating its loyal staff like disposable units and seeking to ban unions from its workplaces. Unions from around the world are sending the same message – this must stop now.”
Pawel Smigielski, Director of OPZZ Confederation’s Legal Department said, “As I am very familiar with the Anna Bacia case and the documentation of past communication between the trade union and the employer – I have to say that I am astonished by Orpea’s exceptionally uncompromising behaviour.”
“I’ve been working at Orpea Poland for 16 years, so when they illegally dismissed me from my job, it was a huge blow for me and my family,” said Anna Bacia. “The support of my colleagues and trade unionists from all over Europe and the world have helped me keep my head above water and continue the fight against this injustice. It’s a huge comfort to know that I’m not alone in this fight, and the international solidarity I’ve received shows why our struggle at the company is so important.”
The Orpea Union Alliance which consists of unions from Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain is holding today’s action to highlight the injustice against Anna Bacia and Orpea’s grim record on workers’ rights.