Slovakia: International solidarity with workers at Neusiedler plant in Ruzomberok

Reply to a letter dated 22 November 2004, sent by the CEO of the company to all the employees.

This is a letter written by the sacked workers of the banned ZOOP trade union at the Mondi/Neusiedler plant in Ruzomberok Slovakia.  We support the international day of action called for by the workers on Friday 10 December 2004.

International solidarity with workers at Neusiedler plant in Ruzomberok

Open letter

To: Otto Pichler, CEO, Mondi bussiness paper SCP a.s.

Copy: Employees of company Mondi bussiness paper SCP a.s.

Ruzomberok 26 Nov 2004

Dear Mr President Otto Pichler,

We were very pleased to receive your invitation for a meeting and the fact that you have publicly stated that all Trade Union organisations have to be given a "fair chance". However in the letter you have written and distributed to the employees we were not given a "fair chance" since it contained incorrect information.

Legitimacy of ZOO Papier

You stated that ZOO Papier "hasn’t been able to prove that is is a legitimate representative of some of our employees". This is not correct. We have handed over the following documents which prove that we are a legitimate representative of the employees.

Date Document’s Name Adressed and delivered
27.09.2004 Announcement about our intention to register as a new trade union organisation Curilla, Kelcik
05.10.2004 Announcement about the registration of ZOOP at the Interior Ministry SR (MV SR) Pichler, Curilla, Jakubik
06.10.2004 Statutes of ZOOP confirmed by the Interior Ministry (MV SR) Pichler, Curilla, Jakubik
11.10.2004 Minutes of our founding meeting Pichler, Curilla, Jakubik
09.11.2004 Appeal for talks between ZOOP and representatives of the management of Mondi bussiness paper SCP a.s. Pichler, Kelcik
12.11.2004 Letter praising the media comments about the acceptance of ZOOP by the Mondi spokesperson Pichler
15.11.2004 Honorary announcement with number of members (262) confirmed by City council office Pichler

We have fulfilled all the obligations to form a new trade union. However your reluctance to accept this shows that your only interest is to receive a list which names all the workers who are members of ZOOP. We are not lawfully obliged to meet this demand and we can and will not deliver a list to you for the following reasons:

  • When we delivered the minutes of the founding meeting in which all founding members where named your reaction was to lay off everybody who was mentioned in the minutes.
  • Employees have informed us about the pressure they are put under by their superiors. „Don’t be active in new trade unions. You can be sacked. Everybody is responsible for himself. Decide, I don’t force you to anything." (end of quotation)
  • Management has send people to our second protest meeting to take pictures of workers attending the meeting. This has been proven in the popular press. Our friends from abroad are very sensitive about this. We, ourselves, have already experienced one totalitarian regime and, on 17 November, have celebrated the 15 anniversary of its downfall. We will fight again if you use the same totalitarian methods.

These are the reasons why we do not want and will not put our members at risk of facing redundancy or other repressive measures. The law states that it is enough to have five members in order to create a new trade-union.

Since you have laid off 14 employees who attended the founding meeting of ZOOP we have done more than is legally required. It is up to the management to recognise ZOOP and to start negotiations.

Once more: Why did we found a new trade union?

In your letter from 12 Nov addressed to ZOOP chairman Mr Krncan you wrote that MondiBP SCP a.s. cannot accept our union. You also wrote that he could influence everything as member of the official trade union ZV-ZO Drevo. We are aware of the fact that you are free to be indifferent to the internal situation in the trade unions. Mr Krncan decided to set up a new trade union after his proposals, which were backed by the membership on shop-floor level, were systematically ignored by the other committee members of ZV-ZO Drevo. This situation combined with the experience of other trade union activists led them to form a Petition Committee and later new trade union organisation.


Even though you did not yet recognise ZOO Papier as a trade union organisation we have to thank the management of Mondi bussiness paper SCP a.s.  Thank you for  fullfilling part of our demands such as the increase of rates (and wages) for some of the workers as demanded by Mr. Krncan since the spring this year and the payment of special bonuses (5000,- SK for October and the pledge to repeat it in December)


ZOO Papier permanently demands to be recognised as a Trade Union by management and is fully prepared to start negotiations. As we have no access to workplace and our colleagues are being sacked and threatened, even you have to admit that we can’t ignore the existing situation. Although we are aware that a media and international campaign will not be beneficial to the Mondi corporation, the management is leaving us no other choice.

That’s why – after consulting the international organisations who are offering us their support – we are declaring 10 December 2004 (Human Rights Day) an International Day of action to support ZOO Papier. 10 December 2004 will also be the day that we organise a press conference for the national and international press and actions in Ruzomberok and other places in Slovakia.

The management of Mondi bussiness paper SCP a.s. can avoid damage to the image of the company by creating the conditions that would enable both sides in this conflict to start negotiations. These conditions are:

  • Recognition of ZOOP as a Trade Union
  • Reinstatement of the sacked ZV ZOOP members (original members of the petition committee)
  • Reinstatement of the sacked 14 members of ZOOP, these people took part in the public founding meeting.

This letter has been discussed and agreed on the meeting of ZV ZOO Papier in which representatives of the commitee for a workers international (cwi) participated.

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December 2004