- 21 Dec 2007
Poland: Telework in Poland
In August 2007, a legal definition of this type of work and other relevant regulations on the subject were finally incorporated into the Polish Labour Code in August, triggering a crucial shift in public policy towards telework. The new regulation came into force in October 2007. As a result, one of the major obstacles hindering the development of telework in Poland for many years is no longer present.
- 20 Dec 2007
Impact of the working time directive on collective bargaining in the road transport sector — Poland
Road transport plays an important role in Poland’s economy. Although the Directive has been transposed into the national legislative framework, enforcement of the relevant laws – in particular regarding working time and safety issues – remains unsatisfactory. The sectoral collective agreement covers only a minority of the employees concerned.
- 14 Nov 2007
Industrial relations in the postal sector — Poland
Poczta Polska, Poland’s national post authority, had its watershed year in 1991, which brought the separation of the postal and telecoms units of what had hereto been a state-owned monolith (the telecoms arm became Telekomunikacja Polska S.A.). PPUP Poczta Polska (the acronym stands for ‘state-owned utility’) employs almost 100,000 persons in over 8,000 branches around the country; it is the largest employer in Poland.
- 12 Nov 2007
Poland: Employers and politicicians take part in pre-election debate
On 1 October 2007, representatives of political parties and members of the business community held an electoral debate on the economy at the office of the Business Centre Club, a nationally representative employer organisation. Candidates from seven parties attended; however, the then Prime Minister, Jarosław Kaczyński, was absent, leading some commentators to complain that his Law and Justice party was not paying sufficient attention to the social partners.
- 12 Nov 2007
Poland: Transport workers get company ownership following dispute
Urban transport authority MPK Kielce has been in a collective dispute for almost two years. The reason for the dispute is that the investor and potential company owner, the French Veolia corporation, refused to honour the promises given to the workforce. Moreover, Veolia was expected to become the owner of the organisation in 2008 as part of a privatisation plan. The workers were unhappy at this prospect, and a long strike with dramatic turns of events ensued.
- 12 Nov 2007
Poland: Automotive trade unions sign cooperation agreement
Trade unions affiliated to the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarity’, which are active in seven automotive companies, recently signed a cooperation agreement. The trade unions are demanding higher wages as well as a change in certain employment terms for workers. Trade union activists take the view that cooperation agreements of this kind can strengthen the position of each individual union in their negotiations with employers.
- 22 Oct 2007
Poland: Union signs agreement to raise minimum wage and increase public sector pay
On 27 August 2007, an agreement on raising the minimum wage for 2008 and on a pensions scheme in the case of early retirement was signed between NSZZ Solidarność and the government. In response, the other social partners expressed their discontent with the conclusion of a separate agreement between the government and one of the main national trade unions, thus allowing both parties to ‘bypass’ the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs.
- 01 Oct 2007
Representativeness of the social partners: Agricultural sector – Poland
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the agriculture sector in Poland. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.
- 20 Aug 2007
Poland: Pay disputes in public health sector escalate
In the summer of 2007, Poland has witnessed one of the biggest waves of social protests in healthcare in many years. Both doctors and nurses employed in public healthcare have clashed with the government over pay rises. The trade unions representing doctors are demanding a sectoral collective agreement providing for pay increases over the coming years. Nurses are also pushing for a substantial pay rise, with their protest action culminating in a demonstration lasting almost four weeks.
- 20 Aug 2007
Poland: Security workers demand better wages and working conditions
Workers employed by security companies are one of the worst paid occupational groups in Poland and also have some of the worst working conditions, particularly in terms of working time. In recent times, these workers have begun demanding higher pay. If their demands are not met, the representative trade unions intend to organise protest action.
- 30 Jul 2007
Poland: Schoolteachers go on strike over pensions system
Following on from its earlier announcements, the Polish Teachers’ Union (ZNP) decided to proceed with a nationwide two-hour warning strike on 29 May 2007; the schools and pre-schools affected by the action opened two hours later than usual. Following the strike, ZNP met with the Minister of National Education, who promised to address the union’s key concerns.
- 30 Jul 2007
Poland: Hunger strike in public transport company
In May 2007, four employees of the Municipal Transport Corporation of Wałbrzych, a limited liability company, initiated a hunger strike. The protesters wanted to express their dissatisfaction with the fact that the civic authorities have decided to allocate the most profitable bus line to private carriers. The conflict has been going on for several weeks and there is no resolution in sight.
- 24 Jul 2007
Employee Financial Participation in the New Member States — Poland
In Poland financial participation of employees is associated first and foremost with the privatisation process. Privatisation has assumed one of two basic forms – the establishment of employee companies or the free-of-charge extension to the employees of a bloc of shares in the enterprise being privatised. Both of these forms, it was hoped, would guarantee social cohesion and ensure that employees are brought on board for purposes of the privatisation process. Other forms of employee participation, while mooted, still have some way to go before their actual implementation.
- 26 Jun 2007
Poland: Teachers’ union threatens strike action over pre-retirement eligibility
The Polish Teachers’ Union announced in May 2007 that it would hold a warning strike if teachers did not receive guarantees of special pre-retirement benefits, known as bridge benefits. The union also demanded pay increases and greater public spending on education at local level, in addition to calling for a new minister for education.
- 26 Jun 2007
Poland: Government unveils draft family programme for 2007–2014
In March 2007, the Polish government published a draft family policy programme for 2007–2014. The programme includes measures to support parenthood, increase the birth rate and reverse the current unfavourable demographic trend. It also seeks to improve the quality of life and overall situation of Polish families. The draft programme was subjected to social consultation, after which the government submitted it to parliament for further debate at the end of April 2007.
- 13 Jun 2007
Industrial relations developments 2006 — Poland
In terms of industrial relations, 2006 did not differ significantly from previous years in Poland. Poland’s political scene, meanwhile, has been more stormy; in the context of the planned social pact, longed-for political stabilisation appears to be a major factor in consolidation of social dialogue.
- 28 May 2007
Representativeness of the social partners: Telecommunications sector
The better part of the telecommunications market in Poland is controlled by Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (TP S.A.) This statement refers to fixed-line telephones. As far as the mobile telephony market is concerned, there is no operator with a dominant position (the market shares controlled by each of the three mobile operators are comparable). TP S.A. also provides the only arena among telecoms operators where trade unions are functioning effectively. That said, the role of the trade unions in the decision-making process within TP S.A. is systematically being marginalised. This is the consequence of the privatisation of TP S.A., which is accompanied by job reductions in telecommunication. The penetration of unions is much lower than in the beginning of the 1990s. It is worth mentioning that trade unions are absent within the structures of mobile phone operators - even in the case of PTK Centertel, a TP S.A. subsidiary. This weakness of the trade unions has some important implications, most notably low relevance of collective agreements in the sector.
- 22 May 2007
Poland: Trade unions launch campaign for higher wages
In March 2007, the two largest trade union organisations in Poland – the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity (NSZZ Solidarność) and the All-Poland Trade Unions Agreement (OPZZ) – launched a drive to secure higher wages. NSZZ Solidarność is pursuing its campaign under the slogan ‘Low wages – a barrier to Poland’s development’, while OPZZ has published posters emblazoned with the query ‘Who stole your 36%?’.
- 18 May 2007
Gender and career development — Poland
The professional situation of Polish women has been steadily improving. To look at the remuneration indicators (with women coming closer to the pay levels achieved by their male colleagues) or at the increasing numbers of women working in managerial roles, there are grounds for concluding that the traditional arrangement whereunder men concentrated on professional careers while women worked in the household is showing signs of strain. If women do continue to devote more time to household responsibilities than men, this is probably due to factors of culture, awareness, and psychology, and any major changes in this respect will have to be of the evolutionary sort. In the context of their workplaces, meanwhile, women oftentimes put the brakes on their professional advancement through their own decisions – the tendency is for women to read for university degrees in the humanities to a degree incommensurate with actual demand for humanities specialisations in the job market.
- 17 May 2007
Poland: Workers at Opel threaten strike action for pay increase
Employees at Opel’s Gliwice plant in south-central Poland are among the best-paid workers in the country’s automotive industry. Nevertheless, the trade unions active at the plant consider that, in light of the company’s current financial status and the workforce’s commitment to its success, the remuneration terms drawn up three years ago are no longer appropriate. As a result, the trade unions are demanding a bonus for employees, threatening strike action if their demands are not met.
- 14 May 2007
Poland: Social partners sign social pact declaration
The aspiration to draw up a new social pact with the social partners represents a central priority for the current government, led by Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński. Nevertheless, the project has failed to move beyond the initial stage of discussions for a considerable period of time. In recent months, however, some progress has been made on this issue, culminating in the signing of a declaration concerning the commencement of work on the social pact in April 2007.
- 14 May 2007
Poland: Minister agrees to pay rise for police officers after threat of protest action
An informal nationwide protest of police officers was called off when the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, Janusz Kaczmarek, agreed to demands for a pay increase. The threat of protest came after talks between the Trade Union of Police Officers and the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish police force had yielded no satisfactory results. Unions are satisfied with the government’s offer, particularly in light of the tight national budget for the current year.
- 14 May 2007
Poland: Railway workers’ blockade ends in agreement
In several cities across Poland, trade unions staged protests by blockading railway lines in their demand for higher wages. The organisers warned that, if no agreement was reached with the directors of the national railway operator, Polish National Railways (PKP), they would stage a warning strike, followed by a general strike. However, the workers’ protest ended in the conclusion of an agreement between railway unions and management. Meanwhile, the government has adopted two legislative draft acts which provide for the repayment of PKP’s substantial debts.
- 23 Apr 2007
Poland: Unions in energy sector threaten strike action over employee shares
The National Energy Workers’ Section of the NSZZ Solidarność trade union is planning to hold a referendum on whether to call a general strike. The union activists maintain that the government has not been fulfilling its obligations under the agreements on the de-merger of energy distribution systems. Moreover, they contend that the government has not honoured the right of employees to convert their shares into securities issued by the companies created during the organisational transformation of the Polish energy sector.
- 23 Apr 2007
Poland: Ongoing dispute at fertiliser production plant
In early February 2007, trade union representatives active at the Zakłady Chemiczne Police chemical fertiliser plant in Poland announced that they would resort to strike action if their pay demands were not met by 13 February 2007. Subsequently, the strike was postponed and further talks began on 19 February. The unions have been negotiating with the plant’s management since 15 January, but to date no resolution has yet been achieved.
- 10 Apr 2007
Poland: Dispute over pay at Fiat-GM plant
In late January 2007, the NSZZ Solidarność trade union, representing part of the workforce at the Fiat-GM Powertrain plant in southern Poland, entered into a pay dispute with the company’s management. In the following month, tensions escalated further after the company fired four employees, a move which NSZZ Solidarność perceived as an attempt to intimidate employees who wished to join the union. However, the company has strongly denied such a claim.
- 12 Mar 2007
Poland: Trade unions opposed to consolidation in energy sector
The Programme for the Electric Energy Industry, unveiled by the Polish government, has met with strong opposition from the trade unions, which are demanding social dialogue on the effects of consolidation in the sector. The trade unions contend that the programme in its current form compromises the interests of employees in the companies earmarked for consolidation.
- 12 Mar 2007
Poland: Teachers’ unions threaten protest action over pay increases
The two largest trade unions representing teachers have threatened to take strike action if the Polish government once again breaks its promise concerning a pay increase in the education sector. Moreover, the trade unions have made clear their disapproval of the current Minister of Education, Roman Giertych.
- 08 Mar 2007
Poland: Employer suppresses new trade union in retail outlet
In December 2006, a number of employees from the Selgros supermarket chain attempted to establish a trade union at one of the chain’s outlets. Several days later, following the legal registration of the organisation, the chairman and a number of other members were dismissed from their posts. This is yet another incident in a series of conflicts between management and trade unions in the Polish retail sector.
- 19 Feb 2007
Poland: Postal workers engage in strike action over pay
Since 13 November 2006, employees of Poczta Polska, the Polish national postal service, have been involved in protest action over pay. Strike action was called by postal delivery workers in the northern city of Gdansk, who were soon joined by other postal workers from various locations across the country. On 27 November 2006, negotiations commenced between the workforce and the company management, with the support of professional mediators.
- 19 Feb 2007
Poland: Proposal to regulate telework aims to ensure equal treatment
The draft amendments to the Polish Labour Code, which the social partners are currently discussing, devote considerable attention to the issue of telework. Both economic and social factors influence the incidence of telework. For instance, it appears that teleworkers often achieve higher productivity levels than traditional employees. In many cases, telework offers people an opportunity to commence or to continue their professional career. Moreover, it also offers a route to employment for many disabled persons and a solution to women in balancing their careers with family obligations.
- 09 Jan 2007
Poland: Miners protest against proposed merger
The case of Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka S.A. shows that not all enterprises that appear to be doing well financially can be certain of their long-term survival. For companies in which the state retains some degree of control, as in the case of the Bogdanka mining company, one potential risk for companies is the decisions taken by politicians. As a result of such political decisions, Bogdanka may be forced to merge with a group of energy companies and to move its corporate headquarters to Poznan in western Poland; a recent demonstration by Bogdanka’s employees was staged in protest against the government’s plans.
- 09 Jan 2007
Poland: Trade unions oppose government strategy for mining sector
Trade unions in the mining sector have accused the government of being overly ambitious in its drive to reduce costs. The unions argue that the proposed divestment or shutting down of Polish coal pits, the reduction of coal production activities and the inevitable lay-offs arising from such efforts should be reconsidered. Employer bodies have also criticised the government proposals.