03 December 2002
In November 2002, a number of employees of the debt-ridden Rydygier hospital in Wroclaw, Poland, launched a hunger strike aimed at obtaining the payment of wages, which had not been paid since September. The hunger strike was followed by high-profile street protests. Politicians at the regional and national level stepped in to try to calm the conflict, but the hunger strike has continued.
27 November 2002
In October 2002, the Polish parliament passed a new law on the minimum wage, which should come into force in early 2003. The new legislation increases the minimum wage, amends the way in which it is set, and sets a lower rate for recent school-leavers. The trade unions have been very critical of the new provisions.
27 November 2002
In late 2001, one of the statutory instruments accompanying Poland's national budget for 2002 abolished the 'pre-retirement allowance', which allowed people meeting certain age and employment requirements to cease work before retirement age. No new benefits of this sort are now being paid, although the payment of pre-retirement allowances allocated in the past is being continued. As of August 2002, almost 350,000 registered unemployed people were collecting such benefits. The amendment of the pre-retirement benefit laws has been challenged before Poland's Constitutional Tribunal independently by four parties, including the country's two principal trade union organisations, OPZZ and NSZZ Solidarność.
05 November 2002
In October 2002, Poland's NSZZ Solidarność trade union organised two demonstrations in Warsaw. In both cases, violence occurred between the protesters and the police. The protests were directed against the present government's policy regarding some branches of industry, and were also a response to the recent liberalisation of the Labour Code.
28 Oktober 2002
At the end of 2001, some 9,000 collective agreements were in force in Poland - in almost all cases single-establishment agreements. Multi-establishment agreements are rare and the conclusion of agreements is much more common in the public sector than in the private sector. This feature examines the development of collective agreements and their legal regulation since the 1970s, and outlines current bargaining practice.
09 Oktober 2002
In July 2002, the Polish government amended the legislative provisions specifying the types of work which women are not allowed to perform. The aim is to improve occupational health and safety standards and, in particular, to protect pregnant and nursing women. The prohibition is not regarded as contradicting equal opportunities provisions.
09 Oktober 2002
In September 2002, the Polish government presented proposals to regulate the legal status of temporary work, which is a relatively new phenomenon in Poland. Despite the current lack of precise statutory regulations, this form of employment - including temporary agency work - has become increasingly popular in recent years, and is seen as an instrument for reducing unemployment.
06 Oktober 2002
After many months of negotiations and debate involving the social partners, the Polish parliament adopted a revised Labour Code in July-August 2002. The provisions of the amended Code reflect demands made for several years by employers' circles, which have sought more flexibility in employment relationships and lower employment costs in order to improve the competitiveness of the Polish economy. It is quite probable, however, that this reform of the labour market will meet with active opposition from trade unions, which have been against the reforms from the beginning.
05 Avgust 2002
Unemployment among young people in Poland is three times higher than the average rate, which is itself high. In order to address the problem and seek to prevent youth unemployment, in June 2002 the government launched a new programme, 'First Job', whose aim is to enable young people entering the labour market to acquire their first work experience.