History is full of examples of how better working and living conditions were won through struggle by organizations organizations of workers themselves. Where it not for their protests, strikes, refusals to work and other forms of resistance, today we would have neither weekends nor 8-hour workdays, pensions or other social protections.
However, over the last few decades, the rights of workers in Lithuania and other countries have been constantly cut for the sake of a “more business-friendly environment.” In the worldview advocated by business people, we are all responsible for our success or failure – just put in more effort, do more than the boss asked you to, overtake your coworkers, and rising up the career ladder is then supposedly guaranteed.
The reality is completely different. Despite economic growth, today a quarter of workers in Lithuania receive a minimum wage. For many, the workday consists of not eight, but ten or more hours. Future prospects of receiving a pension are dwindling with every reform, and for plenty of people, quality healthcare is becoming an unattainable privilege. The concern for the majority of the employees is not how to “rise through the ranks”, but how to survive and secure their rights at work – to get paid the salary they have earned, to get paid for overtime, to have a safe and healthy workplace without harassment and discrimination.
Most of us are afraid to resist exploitation alone. We know that if you start claiming your rights, at best you will be ignored and at worst – forced to leave your job “voluntarily.” As before, workers today can attain the most power by acting in solidarity. When resisting together, it is not as easy for the employer to ignore or fire everyone and it’s even more difficult to do so when there’s a large united labor organization behind your back. It is exactly this kind of organization that G1PS seeks to become.