Physicist’s 99 cleaning nights

My two comments on the article Cleaners are heroes. I should know: I was one by Amanda Craig in The Times, 17 May 2020. The first comment was made on May 17, the second one was added on May 29 2020.

When I was fired from my university job in Poland (associate professor of Physics, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań) for political reasons, I had to leave the country and quickly find another job that would pay mortgage on our flat in Poland. My pianist wife lost her job at the same time and for the same reasons.

I came to London, where I started as a night cleaner in a restaurant chain with headquarters in Brussels. I worked 99 consecutive nights without taking a single day (night) off. The guy who employed me and my Lithuanian partner, ignored our questions about taking a week off after several weeks of continuous work. The company wanted to have their restaurants clean but was not interested in our well-being. We did a good job, receiving high marks on weekly mystery customers’ reviews, but were not paid for the bus and tube fare when moving from one restaurant to another. This was a violation of the law. We were compensated for it only after I wrote about it to their London office. We were paid a minimum wage.

My next job was leaflet distribution as a self-employed. Again, I was working 7 days/week for 8 months, rain, snow or shine. I travelled everywhere around London and beyond M25, visiting places I would have never had gone to otherwise. I opened and closed thousands and thousands of garden gates. I mostly tried to close them back. When I didn’t on one rainy winter Sunday afternoon, I heard “Shut the bloody gate!” from some unidentified voice. I was bitten by a dog once. Nothing really serious, although there were some more serious bites among the other distributors.

I distributed all kinds of leaflets, from pizza companies through estate agents and opticians to elections leaflets for the Conservative Party candidates and for UKIP. We were driven all the way to Truro to distribute job training leaflets financed from an EU grant. I also found that some London areas south of the river with large council estates are deserts as far as publicly available toilets go. It took me once close to half-hour to find one in a bar and it was not funny.

I had some suprising encounters with people. One morning I was stopped by a guy in Croydon, who asked me to read to him and explain the contents of a letter he received from the bus company he worked for. It was actually a letter of dismissal. Was he not able to read? Probably.

In my current job I had the opportunity to serve a former UK Prime Minister and a former Chancellor on separate occasions.


The second comment added on 29 May 2020

Two of the comments following my post are clearly hostile. The choice of words, as well as a nickname show desire to misrepresent and falsify who I am. It is also an attempt at denying agency. Instead of asking me directly about something, that person is suggesting to google my name on the Internet.

As I wrote in my comment, I was fired for political reasons and it is not just a temporary misunderstanding. The reason is deep and fundamental. I have an excellent education, PhD from the University of Florida, one of the top public universities in the US. Nevertheless, I could not do carry out my job in Poland in a normal way. I even had to bring my own laptop to work. They refused to provide even a single piece of equipment for me.

My wife was also fired for political reasons from her job at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, also for political reasons. We refused to falsify and to lie.

One day before the letter of dismissal was delivered to me, someone wrote to me about creating a Wikipedia page for me. I objected to it, but the page was made anyway.

This is obviously a “dark profile”. A tool to control and to falsify the public narrative about the targeted person.

The University I was fired from continues to send emails to me ‘addressed to all University employees’. This is a violation of EU law. So what? In Poland they can do anything. Who are they? They are Communists, who pretend to have miracuously converted to someone else.