Polish Workers Exercise Their Right To Fair Pay By Leaving Poland

In spite of a new "pro business" Government that is widely supported by the Polish populace, Poland's workers continue to emigrate to Western Europe for a better life and better pay. Their departure has changed a country from one long touted as having and abundant, young, well educated and low paid work force to one of few workers and spiraling wages.

Since 1989 successive Polish Governments have been attracting foreign investment by advertising how Poland's citizens are paid so little as compared to others in Europe. They have waived the Polish flag with pride and told companies to come to Poland because they won't have to pay well educated, young people very much. Poland had a great work force to be exploited.

In essence, Polish workers have been used as cash cows for the Polish budget. Investment has poured into the country.

But what has been good for Poland has not necessarily been good for the Polish worker.

Until Poland joined the European Union, Polish workers saw increased job opportunities but most did not see much in the way of increased pay checks. And even though over the past year wages have increased over 10%, they are still low compared to those in Western Europe.

Additionally work conditions in Poland are bad compared to those in the West. They are so relatively bad that even some people who want to return to Poland don't.

A recent returnee to Poland, lured back into the country by a job offer that collapsed as a result of a merger, said that she was preparing to leave again. As a senior bank executive, she sees no reason to work in Poland. After looking for other work she concluded that as compared to where she was working in England, she would work much longer hours at much lower pay. Though she would like to have her child brought up Polish, she is better off to go back to the UK and work where she will get better pay and have more time to spend with him.

The people of Poland could care less about attracting foreign investors. They want to be paid and to live like the people in Western Europe. They fully understand that they have a right to ask to be paid a fair wage and they have a right to move freely in Europe. So they are exercising that right and the number of employable people is decreasing.

To name just a few, there is a shortage of doctors, police, postal workers, train company workers and construction workers. And the shortage is getter worse as more people leave.

The impact on the country is starting to become more visible. It is at the point that the Polish Government should not be able to ignore it.

But it is. And as long as it does, the people will go where they are appreciated and they see that appreciation as cash in hand and time with their families.

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Source: masterpage.com.pl

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Poland's Pulawy says pay deal with unions no threat to full-year guidance

Poland's chemicals producer Pulawy expects forecasts for the current financial year to be unaffected by a pay deal which raises wages by an estimated 20 pct, daily Parkiet reported today citing the company's spokesman.

In late December state-controlled Pulawy agreed with its unions to pay out around 14 mln zlotys more to its workers in the financial year ending June 30 than a year earlier, Parkiet reported today without giving sources.

The company declined to disclose the details of the pay deal.

'The agreement doesn't in any way affect this year's financial guidance,' the newspaper quotes Grzegorz Kulik as saying.

Pulawy expects a net profit of 141.6 mln zlotys on 2.28 bln in sales this financial year.

Source:By Piotr Skolimowski, forbes.com

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Private investors vital to Poland’s road building plans

Completing all essential road construction projects for Euro 2012 will be impossible without the participation of private investors, Poland’s infrastructure minister, Cezary Grabarczyk, warned in a recent press interview. The minister also said that over the next three months the Ministry will prepare a number of projects aimed at streamlining investment procedures.
The authorities have already made a number of changes in the law that will shorten the time needed to obtain environmental approval for an investment. Moreover, the minister announced that an amendment to the Public Procurement Act is being drafted to ensure that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) system will cover not only major undertakings but also smaller projects which are important for local communities.

Mr Grabarczyk is also keen to increase the share of private capital in undertakings carried out on the basis of the PPP system.

The public-private partnership model may also be used to build a high-speed railway, Mr Grabarczyk claimed. According to the minister, a feasibility study will be carried out during the present pariamentary term, which will provide a framework for the next government to begin implementing the necessary procedures. The project in question concerns a railway that will link Warsaw with Dresden, Berlin and Paris via Lodz and Wroclaw. In the opinion of Mr. Grabarczyk, such an undertaking will be possible if essential funding is made available from the state budget, the European Union and private sources.
Source: polishmarket.com

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Poland slashes 2007 deficit on road to eurozone

Poland slashed its public deficit last year by a third from the forecast figure, the finance ministry said on Thursday, marking a big step towards European Union targets and eurozone membership.

"We can say with certainty that the (2007) deficit did not exceed 19 billion zloty," Deputy Finance Minister Elzbieta Suchocka-Roguska told journalists here against a background of efforts to meet eurozone entry criteria within the next four years.

The figure of 19 billion zloty compares with a projected 2007 deficit of 30 billion zloty (8.3 billion euros, 12.2 billion dollars) approved by the previous conservative and eurosceptic Law and Justice government.

That forecast figure amounted to 3.7 percent of gross domestic product, substantially exceeding a 3.0-percent target for eurozone membership.

The ministry did not say what the actual deficit now represents in terms of output, but the European Commission had estimated that the ratio would fall to 2.7 percent of output in 2007, rising again to 3.2 percent in 2008 and 3.1 percent in 2009.

The 2008 budget, recently passed by the liberal, business-friendly Civic Platform administration which took office in November, forecasts a deficit of 27.09 billion zloty, or 3.2 percent of GDP.

Under the Maastricht Treaty which created economic and monetary union, and laid down obligations and conditions for EU members to adopt the single currency, a public deficit should not exceed 3.0 percent of output.

The Stability and Growth Pact, which reinforces this discipline for countries in the eurozone, requires the public accounts to move into surplus in the medium term. The public deficit covers central government, social, and local authority budgets.

When Poland joined the EU in May 2004, its EU partners gave it until 2007 to bring its deficit into line with the 3.0-percent ceiling.

Under Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the liberals predict GDP growth of 5.5 percent in 2008. The economy grew by 6.4 percent in the third quarter of last year on a 12-month comparison.

In November, the European Commission urged Tusk's freshly installed liberals to take action to cut the country's public deficit amid evidence that it would breach the 3.0-percent level in 2008.

Tusk has insisted that he will adopt a strong pro-EU policy after two years of eurosceptic conservative PiS government, which often clashed with the European Commission.

When Poland joined the EU in 2004 it became bound to work towards achieving criteria for membership of the eurozone which, with the accession on January 1 of Cyprus and Malta, now has 15 members from the 27 countries in the EU. The main targets concern inflation, interest rates, currency stability, and containment of the public deficit and debt, together with independence of the central bank in managing monetary policy.

While euro adoption is the priority for Tusk liberals, Finance Minister Jan Rostkowski has said swapping the zloty for the EU single currency is at least four years away.


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Poland may sell state stake in LOT airline

Poland's Treasury Ministry may sell its 68 percent stake in state-controlled airline PLL LOT, as there is no sound reason for it to remain in state hands Deputy Treasury Minister Zdzislaw Gawlik said on Thursday.

The ministry must make legal changes first, as current regulations allow the ministry to sell only a minority stake.

"There are no rational grounds for the carrier to remain state-owned. We want to change the law in order to sell the shares," Gawlik told Reuters.

The ministry plans to float the carrier this year on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. According to earlier remarks by the company's chief executive, Piotr Siennicki, LOT could debut on the Warsaw bourse in the third quarter of 2008.
Source:By Pawel Bernat, Patryk Wasilewski Rory Channing, reuters.com

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T-Mobile Sues Poland's Elektrim for US$5.8 Billion

Deutsche Telekom's mobile subsidiary, T-Mobile has filed a lawsuit against Poland's Elektrim for US$5.8 billion - reports Bloomberg News, citing a local news report. According to the report, Deutsche Telekom claims it is losing money in the battle with Elektrim and French Vivendi for control over Polish mobile phone company Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PTC).

Vivendi and Deutsche Telekom have been battling over the ownership of PTC for seven years, filing several suits in Austria and Poland.

In June 2006, Elektrim said Deutsche Telekom has exercised a controversial call option on Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, citing a partial ruling of the Arbitration Court in Vienna that gives the German telecoms giant 97% of PTC.

Before the court's decision, Elektrim held a 48% stake in PTC while Deutsche Telekom had 49%.

Later though, Vivendi filed a complaint in a U.S. federal court against Deutsche Telekom unit T-Mobile, under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. The lawsuit is seeking US$2.5 billion from T-Mobile.


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Polish finance ministry sees CPI at 3-yr high in Dec

By Patryk Wasilewski and Kuba Jaworowski
WARSAW, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Polish inflation probably rose to 4.0 percent year-on-year in December, its highest in three years, the finance ministry estimated on Wednesday, reinforcing expectations of an interest rate increase this month.
In month-on-month terms, the ministry expects prices to have grown 0.3 percent last month. The year-on-year figure stood at 3.6 percent in November.
Inflation in Poland, driven by rising fuel and food prices as well as strong demand, has been accelerating consistently since August.
The ministry estimated food prices grew 0.5 percent month-on-month in December, more slowly than in the previous months.
Deputy Finance Minister Katarzyna Zajdel-Kurowska said this signalled pressure on inflation from food could be waning.
Inflation now stands much above the central bank's 2.5 percent target.
In response to the growing inflationary pressures, the Monetary Policy Council (MPC) raised interest rates four times last year, bringing the main rate to 5.0 percent from an all-time low of 4 percent before the first hike in April.
Most analysts expect further monetary tightening in the months ahead as wages continue to grow at double-digit levels and the economy remains strong, expanding above 6 percent.
MPC member Jan Czekaj said the council was in a tightening mode and that interest rates would rise more.
"We are in a tightening mode and interest rates will rise further. (...) Labour costs are most important now," Czekaj told Reuters.
He also said the economy would continue to grow strongly in 2008 and that he saw no barriers to growth ahead. (Writing by Karolina Slowikowska)
Source: guardian.co.uk

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Lower income taxation in Poland for 2008

Tax rates are set to drop as the Polish Ministry of Finance has decided to change income tax threshold levels for 2008.

Jakub Lutyk from the Ministry of Finance has stated that the levels have been changed to be more in line with Poles’ income. Pensioners are also set to pay less in income tax.

From the beginning of 2008 the lower threshold for income tax is set at PLN 44,490, with the higher taxation threshold at PLN 85,528.

Tax rebates are also available for households with children, a ‘pro-family’ measure with a tax exemption of PLN 1,145 per child for 2007.


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Vitania to build in Poland

Ariel Rosenberg 31 Dec 07 10:05
Delek Real Estate Ltd. (TASE: DLKR) subsidiary Vitania will build 3 projects in Poland in partnership with Afik Hayarden Holdings (2006) Ltd. (TASE:AFYR.B1), controlled by Shlomo and Yair Eini, at a total investment of $650 million.

The three projects are located in the port city of Gdansk, and the permits for building are expected to be issued in the first half of 2008. Vitania and Afik Hayarden said that on the basis of figures for sales of luxury apartment blocks and high rises in Gdansk and a report from an international real estate consulting firm, the projects would have an estimated $1 billion in sales.

The largest of the partners' three projects will see the building of four 51 storey luxury high rises with 1,250 apartments totaling 135,000 square meters in space on a 6.875 acre (27 dumam) lot, which the companies acquired for $125.6 million.

Source: By Ariel Rosenberg,globes.co.il

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Polish telecoms regulator eyes new tender for mobile frequencies

(Thomson Financial delivered by Newstex) -- Poland's telecom regulator (UKE) is likely to auction off frequencies freed up by the army to 1-2 mobile operators early next year, agency chief Anna Strezynska was quoted as saying today.

'These resources can either be auctioned off, and we can count on the budget receiving substantial cash from two operators who bid for them, or we can conduct a tender for an operator (who will build) infrastructure,' she told daily Gazeta Prawna in an interview.

'(The latter) would be an operator for operators, offering services to other operators. We have not yet decided what to do, but the tender should be announced at the start of 2008.'
Poland's fifth mobile operator, CenterNET, earlier this year beat out bids backed by existing network operators Polkomtel and Centertel, the mobile unit of France Telecom-controlled (NYSE:FTE) TPSA. It plans to launch services in mid-2008.

The launch of Poland's existing fourth operator, Play, earlier this year has helped squeeze prices for consumers.
Source: Patrick Graham, money.cnn.com

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INTERVIEW Agora CEO says hopeful results could top 100 mln zlotys in 2007

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Polish media group Agora has a chance of breaking past 100 mln zlotys in profit this year, thanks to a 'promising' first three quarters, Chief Executive Marek Sowa said.

In an interview with Thomson Financial News, Mr. Sowa said the company's new strategy, to be published in February, would focus growth on new media businesses, involving electronic content and the internet.

He also said his strategy for any engagement in TV would be to seek niche channels and markets, running contrary to market speculation that the company could buy a stake in Poland's third largest broadcaster Polsat.

Asked if the company, which publishes Poland's leading heavyweight daily Gazeta Wyborcza, could reach 100 mln zlotys in net profit this year, Mr. Sowa said: 'The first three quarters are promising.'

After the first nine months the group earned almost 74 mln zlotys, more than double the company's earnings for full-year 2006, when Agora saw its net profit tumble fourfold, as the group spent heavily to ward off competition from Germany's Axel Springer.

Analysts say Sowa's background in internet and TV businesses have given Agora fresh impetus since his appointment in August, and hope the new strategy will point to new ways of cashing in on Central Europe's fast-growing ad market.

Around 70 pct of current company revenues are generated by Wyborcza, which has fought back strongly in the last year after wobbling in the face of Springer's best-selling tabloid daily Fakt and quality daily Dziennik.

Sowa said the company's main aim now would be to generate more of its revenue and income from other media channels.

'By the end of the decade I would like to see Agora as a modern multimedia company with the focus put on new media,' he said.

'We want to be less dependent on print.'

He said the company was involved in creating a Polish version of the Bebo social network, which he said was the world's third largest community service after Facebook and MySpace.

It is interested in TV, he said, but added growth of the sector is likely to focus now on niche services, rather than traditional 'flagship businesses'.

'The question of our engaging in TV is a natural one, only the fact is that the market has changed,' he said.

'It is possible that traditional TV may appear on the horizon, but it is not vital for us. Rather we are talking about niche special interest channels or products.'

Speculation that Agora could take a stake in Polsat grew among analysts last month after Germany's Axel Springer gave up on attempts to buy into the Polish private broadcaster. Sowa is known to have close ties with Polsat owner Zygmunt Solorz-Zak.

'Discussions about TV are often pared down to the category of traditional television,' Mr. Sowa said.

'Only that it certainly does not have to be just traditional terrestrial TV. More and more audiovisual content will be received through the internet or mobile networks rather than a TV aerial.'

To cash in on a growing internet ad market, Agora has invested in a new email service and a video platform in cooperation with Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ), as well as Polish TV production group ATM Grupa.

Like Poland's sole listed TV broadcaster TVN, Agora expects the local ad market to grow 10-20 pct in 2008. Agora has upped its 2007 forecast for the market, valued at 6.0 bln zlotys in 2006, to an 11-12 pct expansion.

The group also plans to diversify its portfolio regionally, and has 700 mln zlotys to spend on acquisitions and new projects, and a share issue on the cards if something big occurs. It has just launched a subsidiary in Ukraine.

'We can say with a large amount of certainty that the first projects (in Ukraine) will be in the internet area in 2008, although in the future we do not rule out engaging in other sectors - press or publishing,' Sowa said.

He added that Agora expects to make a move on any one of the markets in central and eastern Europe, although Poland remains the group's core market.

'Our own funds and current credit line will be enough to support our current organic projects,' Sowa said.

'An issue of shares might be needed to finance large-scale, 'transformative projects' where we would be moving outside the current activities of the group ... should such an opportunity appear, we will consider a new issue.'

Source:By Adrian Krajewski, forbes.com

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