The project addresses the topic of workers’ rights in the community that is seemingly thriving through researching the past and the present, bringing awareness about it to the broader public, offering educational and organizational tools in order to empower individuals and collectives to organize. We see standing up for a person’s own rights as a basis to provide them with enough (economic) means to continue engagement on other political fields not as a distraction, but as a continuation of it.
Škofja Loka, a small town is the Slovenian capital of millionaires, has a low unemployment rate, stable economic growth and a long tradition of numerous successful companies. Not even a pandemic was able to reduce the success of local industrial giants. But the transition from socialistic political system has brought several management buyouts, growing wage inequality in the companies, the rise in precarious and low quality employment, and exploitation of agency and foreign workers.
The project explores and analyses the success stories of the past and present through the lens of the workers’ rights told by the workers themselves in the light of moving out of the epidemic, where there is an increasing pressure for the economic growth that creates the fertile grounds to exploit the workers.
1. Workers employed in the most successful companies will be our main focus. By workers we mean those in regular employment, agency workers, students, foreign workers … They will be the key group throughout the project - the research, education and workers organization phase. There will be a specific focus on the workers in the companies specifically, but also other workers especially with the festivals aim to extend the reach of the knowledge of workers’ rights.
2. Ex workers will share their stories of working conditions and organization in their place of work in the past, providing the content for the storytelling festival and a much needed context for the change of the rights throughout time.
3. Young people as future workers are key when in the educational part of our project.
First phase – the research – is threefold
(1) Ethnological research of the past through interviews and videos collect retired workers’ stories from their everyday life. We want to present to the public hidden and untold stories, to enlighten the working class recent history and stress out the fight for workers’ rights.
(2) Research on the current working conditions in major industrial companies in order to scan the working conditions and the possibility of organizing collectives within factories.
(3) Research of materials connected to the education on workers’ rights
The content and materials gained through of the researches will be joined, analysed and used in three capacities:
(1) The field research of the past and the present will form the basis for the production of a storytelling festival on the topic of workers’ rights which will also include a counselling opportunity for the workers whose rights might be violated.
(2) Field work with the ambition to organize the workers will be carried out in the companies where the interviewees show potential.
(3) Educational part aimed directly and indirectly at young adults will consist of three activities: shorter workshops for secondary school pupils and youth center activists, a 3-day camp for young activists and a manual for the educators will be prepared in order to help them include the topic in the curriculum.
We expect to bring awareness and inform the community about the state of workers' rights.
We will provide lessons and inspiration by showing many everyday acts of resistance throughout recent history to those who are fighting and organising in the present. We will encourage workers to organize and educate young people to fight for better working conditions for generations to come.
The expected immediate results
- an attempt to organize younger, precarious workers in 3 companies
- provide consultation on workers' rights to 50 individuals
- presenting worker's rights to 250 young people in short workshops
- educate 15 young workers' rights advocates and activists
- distribute the prepared manual for educators to all secondary schools
- broaden our network of partners and media
We see the project as one of the first steps to address the topic of workers’ rights in the community that is seemingly thriving.
We want to make it clear that worker's rights are human rights and as with any other, they are not given, but fought for – all the time. We will help to enable that process by providing information on the current situation, through comparison with the past and offering educational and organizational tools in order to empower individuals and collectives.
We see standing up for a person’s own rights and helping their colleagues to do so in the working place as a basis to provide them with enough (economic) means to continue engagement on other political fields not as a distraction, but as a continuation of it.
We are a small team consisting of people passionate about making a change when it comes to workers’ organization and workers’ rights. Our enthusiasm, more than a decade of experiences and engagement in organizing trade unions, working with migrant and undocumented workers, researching, educating about workers’ rights, networking, event producing, storytelling and youth work will be supported by teams of three partner organizations.
We work as a team as we have worked together in the past in several different capacities. More than half of the team have for the majority of our lives lived or still live in Škofja Loka and have been engaged with the local NGOs, civil movements and initiatives and tried to improve the community
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project management (coordination, administration, research support, PR) – 10 000 €
Research (ethnological research, existing data research) – 6000 €
Research (working condition research, workers organization) – 8000 €
Education (workshops; camp – program, accommodation, food; manual) – 6000 €
Festival (cultural program, rental of technical equipment, catering, workers) – 3500 €
Technical equipment (laptop, audio equipment) – 1600 €
Promotion (graphic design, web page, materials) – 3000 €
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