Workers in Carrefour supermarkets around Poland are complaining about the introduction of a new element in the "organization of work": a large red circle found on the floors of markets where workers are supposed to stand to "discuss issues" with the management. Workers in one Lublin market were the first to expose that, among the reasons workers should stand on the circle is to get permission to go to the toilet.
Workers have pointed out the absurdity of the situation where they have to stand 5-10minutes waiting for a manager to show up at the red circle and give them permission to use the toilet when it is faster just to take a break. People are complaining that the procedure is totally humiliating.
Failure to stand on the red circle also has its consequences: if an employee takes a break to go to the toilet without doing so, it is considered an "unjustified absence from work", which could even be the pretext for dismissal.
A facebook group was set up to support the workers and protest against the red circle. Various organizations, including ZSP (whose members are already sabotaging the circles), have called on people to send protests to Carrefour through its website. .
On July 24, more than a dozen people went into the Carrefour carrying red dots and paraded around the supermarket. As the protest was announced, and Carrefour found out about it, they specially hired extra plainclothes security, brought in more security guards (either from other shifts or shops) and called the police. In total, at least 30 hired guards were following the protestors and harrassing them. A few French people from Carrefour management also appeared.
During the protest we heard how guards were instructed to keep an eye on and out for Carrefour workers. If any were to join us (or perhaps even talk to us), they would be fired. Of course we have been aware of such terror tactics in the shop since we know and talk to employees there regularly. It also turned out that a few employees said good words to the protesters.
People in general also expressed their support of the action. We particularly enjoyed the comment of one passerby whi said "The people asked for capitalism, they got it. They believe in God too, so let them pray to him now."
Despite the heavy security presence, the management apparently decided it would be a much worse scene if the security started to beat us and drag us out, so we just ignored what they were saying to us and carried on the protest. People from ZSP and MS took part.