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Poland

Background information on industrial relations in Poland

  • 17 Dec 2009
    Poland: Trade unions challenge government privatisation plans

    Government policy in the area of privatisation is causing increasing discontent among trade unions, who believe that the government has decided to accelerate privatisation at the cost of social dialogue. The lack of consultation and negotiation often leads to disputes in companies that undergo privatisation processes. Furthermore, the trade unions argue that it does not make economic sense to sell state-owned companies during the current recession.

  • 17 Dec 2009
    Poland: Uncertain future of shipyards sparks controversy

    With hopes fading of a foreign investor taking over the maritime shipyards in the northern cities of Gdynia and Szczecin, the prospects for the two companies – and for the numerous enterprises cooperating with them – appear to be bleak. The issue of rescuing what remains of the two shipyards is currently the subject of a bitter political battle between the government and the opposition parties, who are blaming each other for the collapse of the shipyards.

  • 02 Dec 2009
    Poland: Mixed reaction to anti-crisis legislation

    In July 2009, the Polish parliament adopted an anti-crisis legislative package. While the package follows the general direction set out by the bipartite agreement reached by the social partners in March, some of the original concepts provided by the agreement have been omitted in the legislation. The social partners seem moderately satisfied with the outcome, while public reaction to the regulations was mixed.

  • 02 Dec 2009
    Poland: Dispute at LOT Polish Airlines ends in agreement

    The crisis at LOT Polish Airlines (PLL LOT) is not surprising, given the financial problems that are currently affecting other airline carriers. Similar to the management of other airlines, PLL LOT’s management has decided to cut costs and reduce employment. The staff’s lack of support for the chief executive has increased the tensions caused by the restructuring plans. However, the animosity was overcome and an agreement ended the dispute in October 2009.

  • 22 Sep 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Steel industry – 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 steel industry 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.

  • 18 Sep 2009
    Poland – Greening the European Economy: responses and initiatives by Member States and social partners

    The environmental protection in Poland in comparison to the situation in other EU countries is a peculiar challenge. This peculiarity mostly results from neglect and an economy that extensively used and abused the environment before 1989. More than 10 years of efforts greatly co-financed by external funding brought about a significant reduction in the amount of pollutants permeating into the environment. At the same time, however, the fundamental resource of Poland’s energy sector is still the coal. Because of that Poland is now facing two sorts of challenges: negative (reduction of carbon based power engineering) and positive (creating greener workplaces).

  • 16 Sep 2009
    Poland: Employers held to account for late payment of wages

    The National Labour Inspectorate has found that, in the first half of 2009, the scale of delays in remuneration payments has increased. This is another factor suggesting that the cash flow of Polish employers is lower than in recent years. Employers who are in arrears with paying wages will be charged a fine. Small companies are experiencing particular problems regarding payments, especially in the retail, manufacturing and construction sectors.

  • 15 Sep 2009
    Poland: Flexicurity and industrial relations

    In Poland the issue of flexicurity, although it is actually implied in the legal regulations, has not so far found its proper place in the public debate. Considering the low level of professional activity of Polish people, the unending wave of economic migration to EU-15 and the need to upkeep the fast pace of economic growth with the simultaneous increase of its innovativeness, the issues connected with flexicurity solutions should be the number one topic. Paradoxically, it seems that the government and trade unions as well as employer organisations have not been interested in such a debate and prefer extemporary solutions that result from the current pressure on decision makers. However, the fragmentation of existing solutions and the challenges facing the Polish labour market point to the need for concentrated co-operation of the parties interested in the future of labour relations.

  • 10 Aug 2009
    Poland: Trade unions threaten to abandon tripartite dialogue

    Poland’s trade unions and employer organisations signed a package of measures to combat the economic crisis in March 2009. The package was subsequently presented in the form of two draft bills, which provide for the implementation of some of the measures proposed by the social partners. However, the trade unions argue that the bills ignore the compromise that they had reached with the employers, and are threatening to end their participation in tripartite dialogue.

  • 29 Jul 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Tanning and leather 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 tanning and leather 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.

  • 28 Jul 2009
    Poland: Ambitious changes proposed for collective working relations

    At the end of 2008, the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy published a draft collective labour code. The document, which took shape in the course of preparatory work led by the Labour Law Codification Committee in 2002–2006, may be considered an ambitious legislative proposal. It aims to rationalise industrial relations in collective agreements. The role of trade unions and collective dispute procedures are among the topics addressed in the proposal.

  • 13 Jul 2009
    Poland: Government accepts anti-crisis package submitted by social partners

    In early June 2009, the government approved two draft laws comprising the vast majority of the ‘Anti-crisis package’ drafted by the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs in March. The package of measures consists of 13 initiatives with the aim of combating and preventing the negative social and economic effects of the current economic crisis. The autonomous agreement is widely seen as a revival of social dialogue.

  • 02 Jul 2009
    Poland: Multinational companies and collective bargaining

    In Polish industrial relations collective bargaining plays secondary role to the legislation. Multi-employer bargaining remains confined to the public sector. Extent of single-employer bargaining has been shrinking. According to existing sources, there is no evidence that MNCs differ drastically from other companies in the collective bargaining dimension.

  • 29 Jun 2009
    Poland: President calls social partner summit meetings

    The Polish President, Lech Kaczyński, has invited the social partners for meetings at the Presidential Palace twice so far during 2009. The meetings aimed to investigate how to halt rising unemployment in light of the global economic crisis. The Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, also participated in the meeting. However, tensions between the heads of state and also between the government and social partners make it difficult to agree a common strategy.

  • 15 Jun 2009
    Poland: Arms industry reacts to cuts in public spending

    As the national budget for 2009 had to be amended due to the global economic crisis, many companies relying on state contracts found themselves in an increasingly difficult position. The arms industry is linked to economic sectors severely affected by budget cuts. Due to the critical economic situation, social tensions in the arms industry are growing. Trade unions have been organising strike action, while employers have entered into negotiations with the government.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Poland: Wage flexibility and collective bargaining

    The relation between variable payment systems and bargaining regulations is relatively weak, due to the limited reach and decentralised character of bargaining practices. Another cause is the domination of Labour Code regulations and individualisation of the employer-employee relationship. For these reasons collective agreements are very general in the part devoted to the variable elements of wages which leaves a lot of freedom to the employer, who most often decides to apply traditional forms of variable compensating work, such as bonuses and awards.

  • 28 Apr 2009
    Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Hospitals – 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 hospital 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.

  • 02 Apr 2009
    Poland: Tripartite Commission debates impact of economic crisis

    On 28 January 2009, the presidium of the Tripartite Commission for Social and Economic Affairs convened for a meeting chaired by Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Waldemar Pawlak. The debate centred on counteracting the effects of the economic crisis; as expected, there was some divergence between the solutions put forward by the employers and the trade unions. However, given the scale of the crisis, both sides seem to be eagerly seeking a viable solution.

  • 02 Apr 2009
    Poland: Latest amendments to Labour Code enter into force

    In January 2009, a series of amendments to the Labour Code, which were passed into law at the end of 2008, came into force in Poland. The major modifications concern areas such as equal status in employment, maternity leave, parental leave, workplace safety and social benefits at workplace level. Through these amendments, a number of EU regulations have been introduced into the national legal framework, despite some reluctance on the part of employers.

  • 31 Mar 2009
    Wage formation: Poland

    The considerable increase of remunerations has been one of the most important bits of news for the Polish public. While this tendency can be observed in the private and the public sector, its causes are different in each case: Economic migration to more developed European Union countries who opened their labour markets to citizens of the new member states has produced a labour shortage over a relatively short time, and many employers decided to increase wages in order to counteract this brain drain. These pay increases did not involve high costs due to the generally good shape of the Polish economy. Public sector employees, whose earnings are not directly linked to the financial results of their employing entities, decided to benefit from these favourable conditions. For the most part, the initiative for seeking pay raises was issued by the trade unions, which remain a strong representative force in the Polish public sector.

  • 09 Mar 2009
    Poland: The impact of the information and consultation Directive

    Poland implemented the information and consultation Directive – a year after the transposition deadline - through legislation introducing enterprise-level employee councils. Where trade unions are present in companies, they appoint the new councils, which are otherwise elected by employees. The implementing legislation was largely drafted by the social partners, but the partners showed little enthusiasm for the new institution of employee councils. The legislation is yet to have any significant effect on industrial relations, but trade unions are started to shed their initial reservations and many employee representatives view employee councils as potentially useful.

  • 23 Feb 2009
    Poland: Sharp increase in strike action in 2008

    A sharp increase in employee protests was recorded in Poland in 2008. Only a few years ago, it seemed that Poland might be able to establish an industrial relations system where strikes were comparatively rare. However, recent years have brought a turnaround of the previous tendency towards non-confrontational dispute resolution. A growing economy and declining unemployment were two key factors leading to increased trade union demands.

  • 13 Feb 2009
    Poland: Unions oppose reform of early retirement scheme

    In November 2008, the Polish parliament passed legislation reforming the retirement scheme whereby certain occupational groups are entitled to retire early. The changes mean that only about 250,000 workers will be eligible for early retirement, around a quarter of the current figure. Trade unions strongly oppose the reduction in the scope of the early retirement scheme and have organised various protests.

  • 13 Feb 2009
    Poland: Doctors protest against reduced financing of hospital services

    The All-Poland Trade Union of Physicians has embarked on a protest against reduced financing for medical services provided in hospitals in 2009. The protest began in early January with an information campaign staged in hospitals in the densely populated region of Silesia in southwest Poland. Moreover, the union wants to initiate anti-monopoly proceedings against the National Health Fund and an inspection of its method of valuating the health services it reimburses.

  • 06 Feb 2009
    Poland: Collective bargaining and continuous vocational training

    The continuous vocational training system in Poland has a strong basis in binding regulations. The significance of this issue is stressed in a few acts and decrees. Worth noticing is the fact that only few regulations were prepared with involvement of social partners. Furthermore, social partners were also in minimal extent responsible for the CVT system forming by the tripartite structures.

Page last updated: 25 July, 2014