Work of the Unemployed? Exploitation of Marginalized Workers in Poland.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 10:15
Location: Hörsaal 5A G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Justyna ZIELINSKA, University of Warsaw, Poland
Jacek ZYCH, University of Warsaw, Poland
The aim of this paper is to present working conditions of the most marginalized workers in Poland. Although, the unemployed persons officially do not work, it turns out they often perform work offered by public institutions (Public Employment Services and social assistance organizations), like internships, trainings etc. Moreover, due to lack or very low financial support (benefits) they often enough are forced to work on the black market.

After the collapse of communist regime in Poland mass reduction in employment associated with dismantling of huge industry typical for socialist era have created large segment of society which permanently oscillate between short-term or informal jobs and unemployment (the formal level of unemployment during 25 years after transformation has been higher than 10%). During research conducted among the unemployed and beneficiaries of social assistance (2013-2014) in two post-industrial cities in Poland we found out that they usually were engaged in informal or short-term work. Conditions of that work are hard, level of exploitation seems to be very high and aforementioned workers seem to be the most vulnerable group on the labour market. Norms of labour code are not obeyed and the power of employers over workers is overwhelming: long working hours, no safety standards, cases of non payment for work. Despite of the fact that these workers are in touch with public institutions they are not protected from aforementioned abuses. Moreover, employers who breaks labour code are among these who receive support from public institutions.