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Netherlands – Polish agency workers go unemployed

10 April 2012

Polish agency staff work far less than they are promised by their recruitment firms, claims the Dutch news agency NOS. The NOS says that Polish workers are often known as “Standby-Polish” as they are lured into the country with the promise of work whereas in fact they often work only a few hours a week.

The NOS claims that recruitment firms make use of this practice which allows them to call on labourers whenever there is high demand but disregard the fact that these migrant workers then often go without pay for weeks. Agency workers from Poland often also face high living costs as they are frequently charged for accommodation during their stay in the Netherlands.

The report claims that some Polish agency workers are disappointed when they come to work in the Netherlands as they had been promised 40 to 50 hours of work per week, but are far from meeting this target. Some leave the country after a few weeks to try their luck in other European countries.

One agency worker who wished to remain anonymous said to the news channel that it was common practice to have Polish workers on a “standby mode”. “I have almost no work and that goes for many people I know. And yet the agencies get more Polish [workers] to stay in the Netherlands.”

Recruitment firms have denounced such practices and the Dutch federation of trade unions and the Ministry of Social Affairs are said to be “familiar” with this phenomenon.

Unemployment in Poland is relatively high and many workers go abroad for better career opportunities. But the Polish Labour Minister, Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz, recently said that unemployment in the country will fall this year due to the Euro football championships, which will stimulate the economy and boost job creation.

On Thursday it was reported that unemployment in Poland dropped to 13.3% in March from 13.5% in the previous month. The Minister said that “Employment is going to grow, especially in logistics, transport and hotel and restaurant sectors. The tourist industry should also benefit.”

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