Work experience

Comment on the article The Uber ruling is meddlesome over-regulation – which will ultimately backfire by Morgan Schondelmeier in The Telegraph, 19 February 2021.

Lech S Borkowski comment The Telegraph 19 February 2021
Lech S Borkowski comment in The Telegraph 19 February 2021

19 Feb 2021 8:43PM
I doubt the author worked at the lowest rungs of the gig economy. She does not seem to have contacted the Uber workers themselves. She ‘thinks’ she can write on behalf of everyone else without actually trying to do this kind of job herself or without gathering opinions from Uber employees.

When I came to London in 2016 I needed a job quickly. I came because I was fired from a university in Poland where I was an associate professor of physics. My pianist wife was fired from her job at the state school of music. Our family has been targeted for political reasons for a very long time. We were in debt and at high risk of losing our flat in Poland, on which we still pay mortgage.

Although I do have high qualifications and a PhD from an American university, nobody was waiting for me at the Victoria bus terminal, where I arrived one June morning. There was no welcome committee and no red carpet. Even the room I reserved before leaving Poland was suddenly not available.

In my first job I was cleaning restaurants at night. I was employed by a Belgian restaurant chain with significant presence in central London. My basic rights were violated. I was not paid for transport between restaurants and for the time spent moving from one location to another. I read the law regulating workers pay in these circumstances and it was clear the company violated the law. No one, however, was willing to listen. My Lithuanian partner and I were eventually terminated after 99 nights of working continuously without a time off. We were offered a night off once a week or so, but not a week off after several weeks of continuous work. Our proposal made more sense because it would give us time to travel and visit family. One night off a week would only disrupt our body clock without providing any benefit. We received some of the money owed several months later after I sent an email detailing the amounts the company owed us and tbe basis of our calculation.

The overall experience was humiliating.

In my next job I was a self-employed leaflet distributor. Theoretically, I was a subcontractor to a leaflet distribution company. However in reality we were employees. Each day we had to show up at a specific location somewhere in London at a specific time and we had nothing to say about it. You either accepted it or you didn’t get the job. Starting time was not negotiable even if you were to appear on the outskirts of London at, say, 6 a.m. because the job was far outside London and the supervisor was not willing to delay starting time. It takes couple of hours to get through London in those circumstances. We worked under strict supervision. Each shift supervisor was also self-employed. He/she was telling us what the company wanted from us. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Although he or she was representing the company, he/she was not a company employee.

I was forced to come to work in a sporting outfit although it was not making me work any better or faster. It was actually less convenient. At some point we were filmed jogging while delivering leaflets. I did not express my consent to be filmed. This was apparently done to impress some customers. Both being filmed and forced to jog was humiliating. There was not much choice, however. Expressing a critical view resulted in being summoned to the office in west London, where they made you wait for half an hour before being reprimanded. To show you how insignificant you are. Totally humiliating and a huge waste of time.

The company wanted to project the image of people doing the job for fun and making some money at the same time. Their logo pictured a jogger. They were viewed very positively during the company predentation in a tv program a few years back. The reality is different.

Then there was bullying and other inconveniences. So I was sometimes bullied on behalf of the company by another self-employed contractor. Ridiculous. There were also slave-like situations, when we were sitting in a car somewhere outside London and nobody could say how long the situation would last. This was a resulf of someone’s poor planning and we were not paid for the time spent waiting.

The company did nothing to help you with your physiological needs. In this job you walk continuously for 6-8 hours. What if you have a physiological need? It is your problem. You start and finish by a predetermined time. Toilet breaks are not part of the schedule and it is entirely up to you how you solve the problem.

How many jobs of this kind has the article’s author done herself?

You can contact me via Twitter, if you need more information.



Rees, Navalny, Colston, Dzerzhinsky

Comment on the article Marvin Rees: ‘When my pal Alexei Navalny is free, I’ll give him a grand tour of Bristol’ by Matthew Campbell in The Sunday Times, 14 February 2021.

Lech S Borkowski comment The Sunday Times 14 February 2021
Lech S Borkowski comment in The Sunday Times 14 February 2021

In the June 8, 2020 article in the Evening Standard Marvin J Rees was quoted to have said

“My concern though is that racism is tackled not just by pulling down statues in symbolic moments – it’s stitched into the system. It’s the systematic exclusion of people from opportunity and power.”

This was after the statue of Colston the slave trader was toppled in Bristol.

This systematic exclusion of people from opportunity and power is a fact in Eastern Europe. The statues of Dzerzhinsky are standing in Russian cities, some erected recently. Contemporary Russia is built on terror and genocide. Navalny has no problem with that. Corruption is a nonessential issue in Russia. It is an ersatz story.

Mr Rees, you can meet me. I have a PhD in Physics from an American university and I will tell you how the systematic exclusion from opportunity and power is carried out in Eastern Europe. I will also tell you how my pianist wife and I were expelled from our jobs in Polish state educational institutions for our beliefs and simply for who we are.



Are you serious about human rights?

My comment on the article Britain in united front is only way to resist Russia post-Brexit by Baroness Warsi in The Times, 21 January 2021.

Lech S Borkowski comment in The Times 21 January 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 21 January 2021

The appropriate keyword is provocation.

It must be pointed out that Bill Browder is the grandson of the General Secretary of Communist Party USA Earl Browder. Earl as well as his family members worked for the Soviet intelligence. Why would Communist agent Putin pursue grandson of comrade Browder? It doesn’t make sense.

It would be better to devote significantly more effort into decoding deception in Communist countries, i.e. in countries of all Soviet allies. Calls for ‘unity’ amidst incomprehension of Russia’s modus operandi merely reinforce the narrative provocatively imposed by Russia.

I am writing this as a citizen of Poland. My family and I are targets of Communist social terror. My parents were prisoners of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia. My wife and I were expelled from our jobs at state institutions in Poland, following a long and extremely vicious campaign. Government members, including PMs, were informed in detail about criminal activities of the state apparatus against us. They did nothing to stop it. If you were serious about human rights, you would have to look into those cases and impose sanctions on those officials as well. Some of them are members of European Parliament now.

Communist party members are also members of European Parliament and European Commission. I haven’t noticed any protests against their presence there, while Britain was part of the EU.



Polishing images of totalitarian agents in The Telegraph

The untold story of Edith Tudor-Hart: ‘grandmother’ of the Cambridge spies by Charlotte Philby in The Telegraph, 3 October 2020. Wersja polska: Ocieplanie wizerunku agentów totalitaryzmu.

Lech S Borkowski comment The Telegraph 4 October 2020
Lech Borkowski, comment in The Telegraph 4 October 2020

When thinking about woman’s bravery, I prefer my mother, who was imprisoned by the Communist henchmen in eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Russia after WWII. She was ‘tried’ by a local Soviet military tribunal in 1949, together with her father and a younger brother. She tried to protect both of them in her responses during interrogations. She was subsequently imprisoned in a concentration camp in northern Russia in the Arkhangelsk area. She was released in 1956. The war, which was started by joint invasion of Nazi and Communist forces on Poland, has never ended for her. Communist thugs harassed her even when she went shopping when I was little. She suffered enormously and never received justice.

The Soviet security system was centered around terror and torture. She was a very brave woman. She did what was right. More recently, I witnessed the bravery of my pianist wife, who refused to yield to Communist methods of thugs running the state apparatus in Poland. This is also a very interesting story.

The current article is part of a totalitarian narrative. Both Communists and Nazis offered important roles to women dedicated to their cause. I would recommend publishing a collection of stories of female emancipation in the service of both of these genocidal regimes.

I would like to correct those optimists who claim that Communism collapsed. It didn’t. The publishing of this and similar articles in top British papers is a testimony to Communism being pushed into the mainstream. This is the next stage. Memory of Communist villains is preserved, while their victims are eliminated again, this time from memory.




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.



Ally de jure, enemy de facto

Comment on The Times article We led the war effort, say British — others disagree by Lucy Fisher, May 8, 2020

The poll is asking the wrong questions.

The UK and the US allied with one of the two genocidal regimes in Europe against the other one. Collectively, they succeeded in defeating one enemy, while the other enemy expanded its occupation zone, gained international recognition and the ability to control the newly formed United Nations. That must be called for what it is: a failure. The war against Germany was won, but the war against the Soviet Union was lost.

The need for a myth of fighting a good war, being heroic and making all the right choices is tempting to all nations. The truth is more prosaic. The desire to create a myth and hold on to it may be understandable in the years immediately after the conflict, when the wounds, sacrifices and the loss of the loved ones is so palpable. However, as the years go by, one would hope for a more intelligent analysis.

The western Allies won the war against the Germany and Japan only, while losing it to the Soviet Union. Soviet Union won the war against everyone else. British and American governments deceived themselves and their citizens about USSR suddenly becoming their ally, when it was not.

Soviet Union was an ally de jure, i.e. on paper only, but not the facto. The inability to properly process these basic facts, was a self-inflicted wound.

The West tries desperately to cling to the binary logic, good guys vs the bad guys, although ever since 1917 this approach continued to fail. The situation has changed. The rise of the Communist state in Russia using different logic and different methods, a widespread terror and increasingly more sophisticated genocidal techniques, was an intellectual challenge, which the West, taken collectively, miserably failed to meet.

Antony Beevor wrote a very sensible comment in The Telegraph yesterday: “75 years on, have we got the Second World War all wrong after all?”

Indeed, you have.



Truwoman show

Comment on The Countess and the Russian Billionaire review — the 1 per centers who went peak Jeremy Kyle in The Times by Carol Midgley, April 9, 2020

If information available on the Internet is true, Sergei Pugachev comes from a Soviet military family. A career like his would be absolutely impossible without the full support of the Soviet/Russian inner power circle. The 1990s were presented to the outside world as some kind of a Russian ‘wild west’ rush. However, you ought to keep in mind that we are talking about a country where everyone and everything was subordinated to the Communist power collective through decades of terror. Such deep structures of utmost loyalty and fear do not mysteriously disappear.

The private ownership introduced in the 1990s was not so private. Big money was handled by trusted insiders. Private ownership in Russia is not the same as private ownership in the West.

Look at some of the guys who made big careers in Russian business post-1990. There is Mikhail Khodorkovsky, member of Komsomol, the youth organisation of the Communist party. Then there is William Felix Browder, grandson of Earl Browder, the general secretary of Communist Party USA. Both have spectacularly fallen out with the Russian state. However, they would have no chance to achieve anything in the first place, had they not belonged to the inner circle of the most trusted comrades.

It is more likely that these lawsuits and spectacular rows between Putin-led state and the so-called oligarchs are merely a spectacle, a diversion. The aims of the contemporary Russian state vis-a-vis the West are pretty much the same as the aims of the Soviet Union. Russian goals are long-term and the presence of Russian rich functionaries in the West allows to survey, gather information and exert influence without arising suspicion.

Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of two UK newspapers, is a son of a KGB functionary. Some in the British elites see nothing improper to be employed by him or to fly to his parties in Italy:

‘In a brief entry of ministerial interests on the Foreign Office website, Johnson declared he had an “overnight stay” with Lebedev on 28 April, travelling “accompanied by a spouse, family member or friend”.

Johnson did not give any further details of where he had been, who he was with or the reason for the visit – reportedly his fourth to Lebedev’s Italian home in recent years.’

This was 2018. The quote is from article in the Guardian.

They have successfully infiltrated western elites.

And it is in this context that the story shown in the documentary plays out. Alexandra Tolstoy was most likely honey-trapped in a planned operation. The humiliation she was subjected to on the Russian tv show was most likely planned as well.

Open quarrels and lawsuits between so-called oligarchs and the Russian state are most likely only spectacles for western consumption. Everyone knows that there is no life outside the power circle. You either belong, tooth and nail, or you are eliminated. These so-called oligarchs know this perfectly well. They are also not stupid to suddenly start thinking that they can rewrite the code of the Russian state, the code that has been shaped and hardened over decades of terror.



Praising Communism one Sputnik at a time

My comment on the article This virus is a shot in the arm for science by David Aaronovitch in The Times, April 1 2020

A veiled praise of Soviet Communism through the praise of Sputnik. As the Soviet post-WWII space program was build on the backs of German scientific and engineering slave labourers, the author should also mention the Nazi leadership and their earlier commitment to their war-time rocket program.

The concern in the current situation is how to save human lives in the fight against the virus. This is 180 degrees opposite to the mindset of Communist leaders who did not care about human lives, as they were busy killing and otherwise eliminating millions of people. I am writing this as a son of parents who were imprisoned in Communist concentration camps. I am also a scientist, like Paul Nurse, referred to in the article. Like him, I come from a modest background. However, needless to say, I do not share his early fascination with Sputnik. Another difference between him and me is the fact, that he can continue his work while I was removed from university in Poland not long ago for political reasons.

There are more appropriate analogies and no shortage of scientific role models. One of them is Marie Curie. Let me quote from the BBC’s website: “The Curie’s research was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One Curie helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment, which she herself drove to the front lines. The International Red Cross made her head of its radiological service and she held training courses for medical orderlies and doctors in the new techniques.”

Both now and during World War One, proper testing and diagnosis is of crucial importance. Both situations are new in many ways and both involve designing and manufacturing new equipment to save human lives.



The Times silent on Yalta 1945

One more comment on Marc Bennetts’ article Stalin’s death liberated us, say activists in The Times, March 6 2020. Two other ones were posted earlier.

The Times remained silent on the 75th anniversary of the Yalta agreement of February 1945.

At the end of WWII leaders of United States and Britain went out of their way to appease the genocidal regime of the Soviet Union. While they championed democracy for their own countries, they made key decisions and signed a pact with the Soviet Union without participation of the representatives of the affected countries of Eastern Europe, thus facilitating further atrocities by the Communists.

This event is often presented as a false alternative: either Yalta agreement or war with the Soviet Union.

At that moment, eastern Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union again, just like in 1939-1941.



The uber-parasites

The article The film that shows we’re all parasites now by David Aaronovitch in The Times, February 12 2020. My comment

13 February

I came to the UK in June 2016, couple of days before the Brexit referendum, looking for a job that would pay our family bills and mortgage on a flat in Poland. Six months earlier, my wife and I were fired from our state jobs in Poland for political reasons. Although I have a PhD in Physics from an American university, I was not successful in finding a more advanced job, given my constraints of time and limited financial resources. With money quickly running out, I had to take anything that would come my way.

I became a night cleaner in an international restaurant chain headquartered in Brussels. I was paired with a Lithuanian guy. We worked 99 days, or rather nights, in a row without taking a day off. Taking a night off would only result in a disruption to your body clock and smaller earnings. The company did not want to discuss with us an option of taking e.g. a week off after 6 weeks of continuous work. We started with five restaurants a night, then agreed to an increase of the load to six, and eventually to seven restaurants. We traveled between the locations on foot, by bus, and on the Tube, before it was closed for the night.

We were not paid for the time spend moving between the restaurants and we were not reimbursed for our transport expenses. The company wanted to have the job done, but preferred not to ask about the details. To them we were employed while inside a restaurant, but we were apparently private persons while moving from one place to another. My emails were unanswered. We were nobody to them.

As it turned out, the company was violating the law, not paying us for the time spent travelling between assignments and not covering our transport expenses. At one point we were treated in quite a nasty way. I won’t go into details here. Let me just say, that they and us did not seem to belong to the same category of people.

The relation between the rich and a person they hire is not always much different from the relation between a company and its employee.

My next job was leaflet distribution. This time I was self-employed, which meant that I paid travelling expenses from my own pocket. My days off were unpaid. Every day we worked with a supervisor, who was also self-employed. The leaflet distribution company’s idea of business was to hire a large bunch of self-employed to do the work in the field. The employees were those sitting in an office. The company boss seemed to be more or less on constant vacation in various exotic locations. He was finalist in one of those ‘future tiger of business’ shows where his idea of a company was very warmly received. I have never seen him.

If you wanted to visit a loo, while delivering leaflets, you were on your own. What if you happened to be in a residential area with no coffee shops or bars? Too bad. You were on your own. Your problem.

I spent 8 months in this job, working seven days a week, rain, shine, or snow.

In my current job I happen to serve people generally well off, some of them well-known in public life in the UK. For some of them I am invisible, but to quite many I am actually human, albeit more shabbily dressed. Sometimes I hear praise for my arithmetic skills. 🙂

So, who are the uber-parasites? The people who fired me and my wife in Poland, as well as those who protect them, all the way to the top. They are the real threat.


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