How to ensure decent work conditions for foreign workers in Poland?

Ensuring equal and decent pay, appropriate working conditions, access to information and a written agreement – these are just some of the topics of discussions that took place during the events organised in the framework of the MIGRIGHT project co-implemented by CASE.

In 2019 the State Labour Inspectorate (PIP) found the highest number of illegally employed foreigners in Wrocław (640 cases), followed by Warsaw (464) and Gdańsk (293). On a national scale, the highest number of illegally employed persons came from Ukraine (83% of the total number of foreigners entrusted with illegal work), and the highest percentage of illegally employed foreigners was revealed in sectors such as construction (34% of illegally employed persons), administration services (23%) and industrial processing (12%).

During the expert-consultation meeting „On decent work of migrants and refugees in the Mazovian region”, attended by representatives of organisations participating in the formal social dialogue, public administration and international and non-governmental organisations, Zbigniew Sagański from PIP admitted that the most frequent reasons for foreigners performing illegal work are the lack of work permit and the lack of a written form of employment contract.

Moreover, foreigners are usually paid less than Poles. "The differences between the average salaries are usually 10% – 15%. Wage discrimination of foreigners is much greater in agriculture than in other sectors," said Emilia Małys from CASE.

During the discussion, four main areas that need to be changed and improved in the context of ensuring decent work for migrants and refugees were identified: 1) coordination between the participants of social and civil dialogue; 2) effective provision of reliable and up-to-date information to foreign nationals; 3) law responding to current challenges and needs; 4) administrative services for foreigners.

On 3–4 December, the first of a series of four workshops was organised to develop the so-called MIGRIGHT Social Dialogue Toolkit, i.e. a set of practical guidelines for social and civil dialogue participants in Poland, supporting the creation of a friendly environment to discuss the rights of foreign nationals on the labour market and to ensure them decent work conditions. During the workshop, issues concerning the concept of decent work and the rights of foreign workers were discussed, as well as issues related to social dialogue and the role of partner organisations, with particular emphasis on Norwegian experiences.

The project „MIGRIGHT: Strengthening social dialogue for decent work of migrants and refugees in Poland” is implemented by the Federation of Polish Entrepreneurs, the leader of the project, and partners: All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (OPZZ), Centre for Social and Economic Research (CASE) and Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO).

Read more about the MIGRIGHT.

Supported by Norway through the Norway Grants 2014–2021, in the frame of the Programme “Social Dialogue – Decent Work”