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National Day of Action against Subway

April 24, 2009


On Saturday 4th April, we took part in the National Day of Action against Subway. This was called to support the campaign against the sacking of Natalia Szymanska, and initiated in Brighton by the Brighton local of the Solidarity Federation.

Natalia was dismissed a month after informing her bosses that she was pregnant, for breaking Health & Safety rules – specifically that her partner (also a member of staff at the same Subway) was an unauthorised member of staff on the premises whilst Natalia was locking up so he could walk her home. Further details can be found here.

At 11am, we met at the Subway branch on Queens Street near Brighton station. One of us went inside and explained to the staff that we were not protesting against them and gave out some of our leaflets for Subway workers.

We picketed this branch for over 3 hours, giving out hundreds of leaflets, explaining the situation to prospective Subway customers, many of whom decided to go to somewhere different to eat. There were very few customers that went into the Subway sandwich shop whilst we were outside. Lots of passers-by were very supportive of the National Day of Action, and talked to us about the sacking of Natalia Szymanska, and many other workers’ rights issues too. The press also arrived to take photos of us and our placards as we picketed the branch.

At around 11.30am, there were enough of us to split up and picket two additional stores. One of these stores was very busy, being right in the centre of the shopping area of Brighton. The manager of this branch came out several times to move the picket away from the doors, but the picket was still successful, turning many people away over the course of several hours.

At around 2.15pm the picketers all met back at the first branch as the main lunchtime rush was over. We handed letters to the managers of the three franchises before we left, explaining why we were picketing, calling on them to put pressure on Subway and the franchisee involved, G.G. Cuisine in Belfast.

The demands being made on Subway are simple:

  • Immediately reinstate the pregnant worker
  • Reimburse her for loss of earnings
  • Compensate her for injury to feeling
  • Treat all workers fairly

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