Natalia was fired by Subway on manufactured charges a month after informing her manager she was pregnant. In support of the campaign to reinstate her, and to give a message that we will not accept workers being treated this way, Subway branches across the UK and Ireland are being targetted.
The way Natalia has been treated is disgusting, and serves to highlight how pregnant women are often treated in the workplace. The only thing that will stop employers treating their staff like this and trying to get out of their legal obligations is if we stand up for each other and send a clear message that such behaviour can’t and won’t be tolerated. The fight against such employment practices has to start somewhere, and hopefully this can help to serve notice against bad employers everywhere.
Employers may think they can respond to the credit crunch by forcing the costs onto their workers, but we are here to show them this is not the case. Workers' rights are not optional, and we will not allow the costs to be pushed onto the lowest paid workers, who are already set to suffer the most.
The national protest will see demonstrations and pickets outside Subway stores across the UK and Ireland, including Belfast, Dublin, Derry, Galway, Cork, Glasgow, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Colchester and several locations in London.
In Brighton, we're organising the picketing of local Subway stores. We're asking people to assemble at the Subway in Queen's Road, near the train station, from 11am on Saturday and from there groups will split off to go and picket other local Subway branches. If you're able to take part, you can let us know on email@example.com.
Demands being made on Subway are simple:
* Immediately reinstate the pregnant worker
* Reimburse her for loss of earnings
* Compensate her for injury to feeling
* Treat all workers fairly
Come along and let Subway know they will not be allowed to go about their normal business, until they put this right!
19 year old Natalia Szymanska was a 5 months pregnant migrant worker at a Belfast branch of Subway. She was working until 10pm, and so arranged for her boyfriend - an employee of the very same company - to pick her up and walk her home. He had done this many times previously, with the full knowledge and agreement of her managers and never before had it been a problem. However, unknown to Natalia her managers had a different plan on this occasion, because a month previously she had informed them she was pregnant - a fact which would require them to provide her paid maternity leave.
In the belief she would have no option but to live with it, management seized upon the presence of her boyfriend, and Natalia was dismissed in a farce of a disciplinary. Their excuse was violation of health and safety - allowing an “unauthorised member of staff” onto the premises. Quite why the presence of another employee of the same company represented such a dire threat to health and safety was never explained.
Natalia turned to the Belfast and District Trade Union Council, who for the past several months have been holding a regular series of pickets of the premises in question, supported by a wide array of organisations from the labour movement and beyond. Thus far, G.G. Cuisine, the franchise holder has been unwilling to budge, and so the decision was made to turn up the pressure, and spread the pickets across the whole of Britain and Ireland. The aim is to force Subway to pressure G.G. Cuisine into settling with Natalia and to show that we will not allow bosses to treat any worker with such contempt. Pregnant women are frequently treated in similar ways, as if they were somehow being selfish in having a child it is not just a problem for Natalia, but a pattern across thousands of workplaces across the country. Such attacks on workers must be resisted wherever they appear – an injury to one is an injury to all!
For more information on Natalia's case and the day of action:
Leaflets can be downloaded from here: