Concerns with big international capital delay payments. Non-payments to workers on Torun Plaza shopping mall and other problems with working conditions.

Hundreds of workers on the Torun Plaza construction site in Torun are owed money – as much as 2-3 months wages. This is because the general contractor for the site, Karmar, is owed a huge amount of money by Plaza Center – the last figures were estimated at 40 mln. zloties (10 million euros). Karmar, which in turn uses subcontractors, claims that it cannot pay them and the workers on the bottom get left with nothing.

Work through the subcontractors is generally miserably paid. Many workers receive just the minimum wage of 1386 zloties a month, which is less than 350 euros. These workers are then offered a chance to „make more money” by doing overtime off the books. Sometimes they are forced to do this overtime. None of this is evidenced in the official work records.

What may have seemed to some workers like a chance to make a little extra money to supplement their miserable salaries is now beginning to look like a good chance they will be ripped off with difficulties proving the hours that they worked. Workers report long delays in payments and irregular payments – some receive just a few hundred zloties at a time, but not their whole salary. As the construction phase is coming to the end and the mall is about to open, hundreds of workers are not sure when they will be paid, or if they will be paid for the actual hours worked.

In such situations, we know that firms like Plaza Centers try to pass the blame and claim that these people are not even their employees or their responsibility! But the chain of non-payments can be clearly traced back to Plaza Centers and to Karmar. If these companies cannot pay their debts, then they really should be declared insolvent, not take on new investments and owe money to subcontractors. Financial reports have shown that Plaza Centers is an investment risk, is highly leveraged and has liquidity problems – but people who are looking for a job don't know this and only got on getting paid as promised. If Plaza Centers is taking financial risks when starting such projects, these risks should be born by the bosses and the investors – not the workers.

While the bosses of these companies certainly have no delay in getting their own fat salaries, the minimum wage workers on their construction site, get deeper into trouble as they go without money, perhaps facing serious personal strife as a consequence.

We strongly condemn this situation and demand immediate payment to the workers! We will support actions of the workers to recover these outstanding or unaccounted wages and state unequivocally that the best action against such thievery is direct action. Obviously if the mall owners feel that they can pay people late and have no concern about whether people have food on their plates, then the workers should have no concern about whether or not the shopping mall opens on schedule.

We call on consumers to be aware of this situation and, instead of counting the days until the mall opens to go on shopping sprees, simply to show your solidarity with these workers, just as you would appreciate the same if your boss wasn't paying you. If the workers aren't paid immediately, we will call for a blockade of the opening of the mall (scheduled on Nov. 14) and we will ask for public solidarity.

Plaza Centers is an international construction company building the Torun Plaza shopping mall. It is a listed company, on the London and Warsaw stock exchanges. It is a direct subsidiary of Elbit Imaging, listed on the Tel Aviv and New York (Nasdaq) stock exchanges. Plaza Centers has construction projects in countries such as Serbia, Bulgaria, India, Greece, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the US. Karmar is part of Bouygues Batiment International, a huge international group with major capital.

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