14 maj 2006
Tensions in the Polish public healthcare system continue to escalate. On Friday 7 April 2006, also World Health Day , a national protest in the public healthcare sector was staged in Poland. The sector’s representative trade unions had previously demanded an immediate 30% pay rise for healthcare employees and an increase in state healthcare expenditure from 4% to 6% of gross domestic product (GDP). When negotiations between the employees and the Ministry of Health (Ministerstwo Zdrowia, MZ ) ended in deadlock, the unions urged all members and supporters to put pressure on the government by taking a day off work in protest. Most physicians employed at public healthcare facilities and a substantial number of nurses heeded the unions’ request and asked for a day off, to be subtracted from their holidays. Those who had to report for work on 7 April, due to the nature of their professional responsibilities (such as ambulance and emergency room personnel), showed their solidarity with the protesters by displaying posters and flags around their workplaces. Several hundred union members from the Silesia region of south-western Poland travelled to Warsaw for a demonstration in front of parliament buildings. As part of the protest, all public hospitals and medical practices around the country failed to provide services, except for admitting emergency patients and attending to sick people requiring ongoing care.  http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2006/en/  http://www.mz.gov.pl/
09 maj 2006
The problem of non-compliance with labour court decisions has lessened somewhat in recent years, according to the National Labour Inspectorate (Panstwowa Inspekcja Pracy, PIP ). In 2003, PIP inspections found that 64% of court verdicts and agreements were disregarded; in 2004, the proportion was 57%, while in 2005, it fell to 50% of court verdicts. Consequently, the number of employees affected by non-compliance with labour court decisions has also decreased. In 2005, some 1,396 employees were thus aggrieved – almost 40% less than in 2004, when 2,310 employees were affected by non-compliance, and almost 48% less than in 2003, when 2,668 employees were affected. The number of non-compliant employers has also declined, from 302 employers (out of the 720 employers who were inspected) in 2003, to 230 employers (out of 717 employers inspected) in 2005.  http://www.pip.gov.pl/html/en/html/index.htm
26 april 2006
The amended version of the legislative bill regarding disability and pension benefits financed from the social insurance fund was adopted in July 2005, in response to pressure from the trade unions in the mining sector. The amended Act retains the right of miners, who have 25 years of service, to retire irrespective of their age; other employees working under particular conditions may also benefit from early retirement up to the end of 2007.
20 april 2006
Having been adopted by the lower chamber (/Sejm/), the new statute on works councils will be considered by the upper chamber of the Polish parliament (/Senat/) in the next step of the legislative process. The Senat may either endorse the bill as presented by the Sejm or introduce amendments. It then passes the bill to the President for his signature – the final step required for passing an act into Polish law. Provided that the Senat does not make many amendments to the legislative Act on works councils, the final text of the statute should be published in the /Journal of Laws/ by late 2006.
20 april 2006
The Fiat GM Powertrain plant in Poland is a joint investment between Fiat and General Motors. Established in 2003, the plant manufactures and supplies engines to 15 automobile plants around the world. The strong results recorded by the plant since it began operations led to a decision to invest a further €80 million in the factory; management also plans to employ an additional 300 workers in 2006 and another 150 workers in 2007, thus increasing production capacity considerably.
11 april 2006
At the end of 2005, the situation for public healthcare patients remained uncertain as the conflict escalated between the National Health Fund and the employer organisation of general practitioners (GPs) over the Zielona Góra Agreement. The agreement covers the primary medical care contracts for 2006. The GPs' organisation boycotted rate proposals by the National Health Fund, arguing that they were too low. In the case of the contracts not being signed, GPs would have kept their practices closed from 1 January 2006 onwards. Although the conflict was diffused, it is far from being resolved, as the affair is not an isolated case.
10 januari 2006
The forthcoming privatisation of Poland's Dolna Odra power complex (ZEDO) is encountering obstacles in late 2005. The ZEDO complex is due to be acquired by the Spanish Endesa group. However, the trade unions at ZEDO have expressed their reservations about privatisation. It seems that the deal will be done only if an agreement is reached between the investor and the unions concerning a 'social package' for the employees .
01 december 2005
The operations of large supermarket chains in Poland were in the headlines in November 2005. Trade unions demanded that Independence Day, the Polish national holiday on 11 November, should be a day off for hypermarket employees, as it is for most workers. Furthermore, Teresa Lubińska, the newly installed Minister of Finance, reportedly made comments to the effect that large supermarket chains are not welcome in the country. Finally, the leading party in the new government, Law and Justice (PiS), proposed legislation placing limits on the opening of large stores.
06 november 2005
The outgoing government has appealed to the Constitutional Tribunal to decide on the controversial part of the law on retirement and incapacity pensions granted by the Social Security Fund (Fundusz Ubezpieczeń Społecznych, FUS) concerning the miners’ pensions, which secures for the miners the right to retirement after 25 years of underground work independently of age. It is possible, however, that the new government - coming from the political opposition - will withdraw the above proposal.
30 oktober 2005
September-October 2005 saw both a parliamentary election and a presidential election in Poland. This article examines the role of trade unions and employers' organisations in the elections. While they did not actively involve themselves in the electoral process, some of their members ran for elected office, in some cases successfully, on behalf of many parties, and the governing bodies of various social partner organisations expressed clear preferences in both elections .