Poland

Implication des Syndicats dans le semestre européen
Trade Union Involvement in the EU Semester

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http://collective.etuc.org/SocialPartner/poland

European Semester Officers (ESO) in your country:

Tomasz GIBAS
Email
tomasz.gibas@ec.europa.eu
Telephone
+48 22 556 89 60
Mobile
+48 795 641 360

Bartosz OTACHEL
Email
bartosz.otachel@ec.europa.eu
Telephone
missing
Mobile
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National Reports

Assessment of 2 priorities from chapter 6 - Polish perspective.
The wage developments should be in line with productivity . They are not in line. Productivity gains exceed wages year after year. This gap amounted at least 4,5% in 2012. Commission doesn’t notice that wages in the majority of the public sector are still frozen (since 2011 by unilateral decision of the government) what influence negatively the domestic demand.
To remedy labour market segmentation, notably by modernising employment protection legislation
The segmentation of labour market is not addressed by the government which hasn’t reacted to consecutive CSRs warning against threat of excessive development of precarious forms of employment (long-lasting fix term contracts and civil contracts for self-employed economically dependent). What worse - the modernizing of EPL is understood by the government as weakening of existing labour standards. It goes in confrontation with trade unions. This is e.g. the case of pressure to cut some social benefits for teachers “in order to improve the performance of schools” (mentioned in the draft Employment report). This year flexibilisation of working time has been introduced (possibility of extension the reference period to 12 months what would negatively affect the disposable income of employee). It was welcomed in the AGS although the new law probably violates the Working Time Directive. Combating the LM segmentation by the race to the bottom?

AGS 2015 does not meet the expectations concerning new opening as regards social dimension of economic governance. There is one positive message -that the involvement of social partners is important in the context of implementation of the European Semester. But the words should be translated into action. In some countries like Poland social partners are systematically marginalized and moved aside the whole process. The Commission should became the guarantor of keeping its rules also in particular member states.
Other impressions give causes for concern rather that for hope.
There is no analysis of income situation of EU citizens. The growing income stratification is passed over in silence. The attention is focused at consumers’ market not at employees who should earn enough to speed up domestic demand. What’s more it was mentioned that in some countries wage dynamics is faster than productivity growth what -according to the Commission - should be corrected. There is nothing about reverse trend which employees in the most of CEE countries are experiencing firsthand. The Commission clearly doesn't worry about wages which are not able to catch productivity up in the poorest member states.
The calling on member states to reform of labour dispute resolution schemes sounds danger. It looks like an attack on the only effective trade unions’ tool to stand up for wage and working conditions improvement. It seems to be further step towards decomposition of national collective bargaining systems and weakening of trade unions' abilities vis-a-vis business power.
On the other side the Commission observes that private sector has substantial savings which unfortunately are not invested in real economy. Taking into account the fact that without strong trade unions’ pressure business always will prefere to invest savings on wages in virtual economy (casino capitalism still alive) such situation seems quite schizophrenic.
There is also reference to REFIT in the AGS, because this programme is considered as a marvelous remedy for all legislative burdens. Seemingly it sounds innocently but since the EU law is to be less costly for enterprises it's possible that Commission's activity will start with the labour and social legislation.
Certainly, at first glance the AGS 2015 carries many traps for trade unions.

There is one element included in the CSR for Poland that can have positive impact on wages, i.e. the need to take measures to reduce the excessive use of temporary and civil law contracts in the labour market is highlighted. It is important because the increasing instability of jobs (through the development of a fix-term contracts) and substituting employment contracts by civil law contracts (such as order contract or contract to perform a specified task) contribute to growing segmentation of Polish labour market and hence the natural wage pressure is weakened.
Unfortunately, the Recommendation lacked references to the general phenomenon of insufficient wage dynamics and the risk it poses for the socio-economic development. The negative consequences of the lack of wage growth are clearly indicated in the Country Report for Poland published by the Commission in February 2015. The report describes aptly the trap of low labor costs and its mechanism. The Commission pointed out that the strategy of development based on competitive labor costs poses a threat to the ability of Poland to move up the added value chain. The Commission also pointed to the fact that significant decline in real labor costs has been progressing for several years. It also observed long-term, progressive decrease in household savings attributed to the intake of additional savings - thanks to halted increase of labor costs - by the business sector, which in turn sees no need for more investment because of labor-intensive nature of production and services that is dominant in Poland.
Neither the Report nor the CSR try to suggest what is behind this state of affairs. And this reason is the weakness of the Polish system of collective bargaining, which is not able to lead to a fair balance between the incomes of workers and the profits of business. CSR should clearly indicate that one of the conditions for the transformation of present - low-cost and labor-intensive economy based mainly on comparative advantage in areas demanding low skills, is to ensure the support of public authorities for the development of wage negotiations at all relevant levels. Lack of a functioning mechanism of wage negotiations has meant that the gap between the growth of labor productivity and real wage growth has reached levels that in practice prevent the successful achievement of such a transformation. According to the OECD, its cumulative value was 20% in the period of 2002-2012 (OECD Economic Surveys Poland, March 2014). CSR does not address the threat that most economists point to, that is that Poland will fall into the so-called trap of middle-income country.
In the light of these circumstances the CSR for Poland amongst other things should reflect the concern of the European Commission/EU Council with the decreasing coverage of collective agreements what has direct impact on weakening of the actual ability of trade unions to conduct wage bargaining.

CSR dla Polski zawiera jeden element mogący wpłynąć pozytywnie na płace, tj. wskazanie na potrzebę podjęcia działań w celu ograniczenia nadmiernego wykorzystywania umów na czas określony i umów cywilnoprawnych na rynku pracy. Jest to ważne, gdyż rosnąca niestabilność miejsc pracy (poprzez rozwój umów na czas określony) oraz zastępowanie umów o pracę przez umowy cywilno-prawne (takie jak umowa zlecenie czy umowa o dzieło) przyczyniają się do rosnącej segmentacji polskiego rynku pracy , a tym samym osłabiają naturalna presje płacową.
Niestety w zaleceniach zabrakło odniesienia do ogólnego zjawiska słabej dynamiki płac i związanego z tym zagrożenia dla rozwoju społeczno-gospodarczego. Negatywne konsekwencje braku wzrostu płac jednoznacznie są wskazane w Raporcie krajowym dla Polski opublikowanym przez Komisję w lutym 2015. Jest tam trafnie opisany mechanizm pułapki niskich kosztów pracy. Komisja zwróciła uwagę, że oparcie strategii rozwoju na konkurencyjnych kosztach pracy stanowi zagrożenie dla zdolności przesunięcia się Polski w górę łańcucha wartości dodanej. Wskazała także na znaczące, postępujące od kilkunastu lat, spadki realnych kosztów pracy. Zauważono także długofalowy, postępujący spadek oszczędności gospodarstw domowych będący skutkiem zasysania dodatkowych oszczędności - dzięki powstrzymaniu wzrostu kosztów pracy - przez sektor przedsiębiorstw, który z kolei nie widzi potrzeby większego inwestowania ze względu na dominujący w Polsce pracochłonny charakter produkcji i usług.
Ani w raporcie ani w CSR nie próbuje się wskazywać przyczyny takiego stanu rzeczy. A jest nią słabość polskiego systemu rokowań zbiorowych, który nie potrafi doprowadzić do godziwej równowagi między dochodami pracowników a zyskami przedsiębiorstw. CSR powinno wyraźnie wskazać, że jednym z warunków transformacji z obecnej – nisko kosztowej i pracochłonnej gospodarki opartej głównie na przewadze komparatywnej w obszarach wymagających niskich kwalifikacji, jest zapewnienie wsparcia władz publicznych dla rozwoju negocjacji płacowych na wszystkich odpowiednich poziomach. Brak sprawnie funkcjonującego mechanizmu rokowań płacowych spowodował, że luka między wzrostem wydajności pracy i wzrostem płac realnych osiągnęła rozmiary w praktyce uniemożliwiające pomyślne dokonanie takiej transformacji. Wg OECD, w latach 2002-2012 jej skumulowana wartość wyniosła 20%. (OECD Economic Surveys Poland, March 2014). CSR nie odpowiada na zagrożenie, dostrzegane przez większość ekonomistów, a polegające na tym, że Polska wpadnie w tzw. pułapkę państwa o średnim dochodzie.
W świetle powyższych okoliczności, CSR dla Polski winno między innymi wskazywać na zaniepokojenie Komisji Europejskiej/Rady UE zjawiskiem spadającego zasięgu rokowań zbiorowych, co bezpośrednio przyczynia się do osłabienia faktycznych możliwości podejmowania negocjacji płacowych przez związki zawodowe.