Poland: Castorama responds to allegations it unfairly dismissed 10 trade union activists

In December 2019, UNI Global Union reported that Castorama Poland (owned by Kingfisher) dismissed 10 trade union activists and accused the company of "union-busting activities". As reported further by UNI Global Union, UNI Commerce has taken legal action and will launch a campaign for re-instatement of the dismissed workers and respect for trade unions.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Kingfisher to respond to the concerns raised. They sent us a statement from Castorama Poland, available below.

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Company response
10 January 2020

Response by Castorama Poland (owned by Kingfisher)

Author: Castorama Poland

Castorama has built a great business in Poland over 20 years and that has only been achieved by working closely with our colleagues and by respecting employees' rights. We employ more than 12,000 colleagues in 80 locations across the country, and that commitment to building a successful business for the long-term benefit of our colleagues and Polish society will not change.

The company has, and will always, respect the rights of our employees to be members of trade unions in Poland. We will continue to conduct discussions with employees, our Employee Council and Castorama Polska’s trade unions’ representatives to make our company an even better place to work, and we currently work in cooperation with two union organisations.

The issue in this situation is not about fair working conditions, wages or the right to join a union. Rather, it concerns bringing the company into disrepute and gross material breaches of employee obligations as specified in the Labour Code and the company’s Works Regulation.

We are committed to openness, dialogue, and honesty, especially in the field of employer-employee relationships. The company will always respect union rights and will continue open dialogue with representatives of all trade union organisations, alongside our Employee Council, especially in this situation.

[response attached]

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3 December 2019

Castorama Poland must stop union busting

Author: UNI Global Union

An affiliate of UNI Commerce, NSZZ “Solidarnosc” Commerce, has been helping Castorama/Poland workers organize - despite the anti-union attitude of the employer. The company has intensified its union-busting activities and recently dismissed 10 trade union activists...

The company tried to justify dismissals on the ground of “carrying out activities to the detriment of the company” and “damaging the employer’s image.” However, they were simply using internet platforms and social media to help workers organize around their issues...

With the help of the union, necessary legal action has been taken for re-instatement of the dismissed workers...

Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce, sent a letter to Mr. Thierry Garnier, the CEO of Kingfisher and local management of Castorama/Poland. Underlying that UNI Commerce stands in solidarity with Solidarnosc and Castorama workers, Bolton said “We expect that you will take the necessary actions in order to ensure that Castorama/Poland respects union rights, engages in constructive dialogue with the union, and re-instates employees dismissed for their union activities” in his letter.

UNI Commerce will launch an international campaign to raise solidarity with Castorama workers in Poland.

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