Monday, November 20, 2006

Teamwork in lazy UK

Despite the negative campaign against central Europe immigrants in Britain by some of the media, Poles still have a good enough reputation as far as working hard goes.

As you can see by this photo sent to me from Britain...


Anonymous said...

Looks like the spam is back.

It is good, but strange, that Poles have that reputation in UK - because that photo - of ten people standing around doing nothing while one works - is a common sight in Poland! get TPSA to come round to your flat to do something simple and ten turn up to do a job for one!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We are using the same picture with different labels in our company to illustrate how software is developed. Has a kind of universal validity.

beatroot said...

I agree with Anon: Poles do not have a reputation as hard workers IN POLAND! A typical day for many where I work is to drag themselves in at 10 am, hang around not doing vert much, and then buggering off again at 4 pm.

They don't do that in UK, of course...

michael farris said...

It's very simple:
Poles work hard when paid well (by their standards). They don't work hard when paid poorly (almost always the case inside of Poland).

Anonymous said...

Partner's best friend's father is a US-Pole who has a company in the USA renovating houses (i.e. the kind of company where two officially employed workers can officially do the work of 20 people). He has a rule that nobody gets paid for more than 60 hours a week. Before it was introduced he'd have people wanting to work 14 hours a day 7 days a week. Not that he really minded, it was just that when employees are tired they tend to screw up and that was costing him too much.

beatroot said...

The money thing is right: my girlfreind (partner!) earns loads - corperate stuff - but she works and suffers for it.

There is also the migrant thing. If you are in a country which you think owes you nothing, then you get very self reliant ( I am talking from a migrant's point of view, of course).

beatroot said...

I should at that a lovely woman I used to work with at a publishers, who is about 55 years old (but still gorgeous looking!) and a devout Catholic (she is one of the only real hardcore Catholics I know) once said to me when we were having to work hard: "This workking hard - it's for horses...You protestants and your work ethic!" She was only half joking.

Anonymous said...

This picture can be representative of any public sector organization in any city in the world. Poles like anyone else work very hard if they have something to show for their efforts but just take the incentive away and watch the difference.

In the bad old days (just for the leftists I mean when the commies were in power) the old saying was “you pretend to pay us, we pretend to work”.

Deal with the social services cheats in Poland and institute more economic reforms, you may find it possible to take a few pictures of someone working in Poland.

And while we’re at it do something about the national joke, the 6.6 ha farms, which seem to keep 17.5% of the work force busy.

No labour shortage in Poland! If the photo were taken there the number of bystanders would have been greater. So just how close to the third world is Poland?

From EU Agricultural data:

Country,Average Holding Size(ha),Portion of Workforce (%)

Poland 6.6 , 17.5
Germany 41.2 , 2.4
England 57.4 , 1.3

Anonymous said...

A number of articles have emerged recently stating there exists or about to exist a labour shortage in Poland due to demand and the migration of workers to the west.

This is complete nonsense as there is plenty of labour except it’s under utilized and unskilled. Labour for factory assembly lines and inexpensive mass production jobs, there’s no shortage.

Around 15 % of the total current work force is available, if their prepared to work.

An analysis of the EU data on Poland presents a damming picture; the agricultural sector uses 17.5 % of the work force. Using Germany and England as a basis of comparison Poles use three times the labour resources to look after one hectare and they produce seven times less in value per farm labourer.

Therefore if you drive into the countryside and observe a farmer staggering with exhaustion your eyes are playing tricks on you, he’s drunk.

There isn’t a single politician with the balls to touch rural reform.

michael farris said...

I just want to say that I'm shocked and disturbed by the dangerous understaffing shown in that photo.

Where's the Diversity Manager?
Where's the EU Regulation Liason Officer?
The Equipment Manager?
Equipment Inspection Manager?
Hygene Manager?

I could go on...

Martin said...


"Poles work hard when paid well (by their standards). They don't work hard when paid poorly (almost always the case inside of Poland)."

So woudld Brits.

If the Poles hadn't depressed the wage rate -

A lot of people are suffering over here because of this...

michael farris said...

Martin, my point was that there's no special 'work for the sake of work because it's good for you' ethic in Poland. This makes perfect sense in view of recent and more distant history. Working hard in communist system was a fool's game as performance had no influence on one's pay or career prospects.

I have no doubt that Polish newcomers in Britain have depressed the pay rate of some. I fully realize that large scale immigration is not an unbridled benefit to all (in either society).

I do think that in the long run on balance the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Gustav said...

Jankowiak57 -

This is complete nonsense as there is plenty of labour except it’s under utilized and unskilled.

Not exactly true. You're right that it's unskilled, which is why there is a shortage of some skilled-labor positions -- especially in construction. The vast majority of construction companies complain of not finding enough people to work for them. Many of them have had to delay projects. You could train the unskilled workers to do those jobs, but it's a hell of an investment in both time and money. They'd rather take on bricklayers who have had some experience, and get the job done on time and on cost.

beatroot said...

Labour Minister Anna Kalata has changed her view on opening the Polish labour market to citizens of East European states. The minister admitted that such a move seems inevitable due to the lack of qualified workforce on the labour market.