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Life in PRL

Brief History of Solidarity Workers' Union

Solidarnosc LogoThis year on August 31 we will celebrate the 25 anniversary of Solidarity Workers’ Union (Zwiazek Zawodowy Solidarnosc) -the first independent workers’ union operated legally in the communistic block. Creation of the Solidarity helped to abolished the Soviet system.

The origin of Solidarity traces back to a creation of Workers' Defense Committee (KOR, Komitet Obrony Robotnikow) in 1976. KOR was created by a group of intellectuals to help the workers who were detained after the strikes in the same year (1976).

Read more: Brief History of Solidarity Workers' Union

 

Women of Solidarity Workers' Union in Poland

The publication of Podziemie Kobiet (Warsaw: Rosner & Wspolnicy, 2003) in Polish by author Shana Penn was celebrated on October 16, 2003 at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC which was co-sponsored by the Network of East-West Women. Penn served as the organization's first executive director from 1991-96. The Embassy's invitation states that The Underground of Women recreates the little known history of the heroic Polish women who organized the Solidarity underground during the 1980s martial law years. An all-female team kept the mission of Solidarity alive, and their weekly, clandestine, nationwide newspaper became the acknowledged voice of Solidarity. Penn is the first writer to recognize them as the Founding Mothers of Polish Democracy. These brave women personified the Matka Polka - the Polish Mother - who selflessly protected Poland from the Communist evil during this perilous and revolutionary time.

Read more: Women of Solidarity Workers' Union in Poland

   

Work Ethics in Poland: Hidden Unemployment and Weak Currency

During communism there was no unemployment in Poland as well as in all other countries of the Eastern Block at least formally. But in reality the organization of work was poor. People earned little money. Sometimes many people were doing a work that could be done effectively by a one person. There was too much of administration and managers (and still there is). Many people were overqualified for what they were doing. They were employed in the position below their education level. This phenomenon was called hidden unemployment.

Read more: Work Ethics in Poland: Hidden Unemployment and Weak Currency

   

Work Ethics in Poland: New Class System build by Communists

What was a work ethics during the communism in Poland? Rather poor. The good work was not considered one of the most important virtues partly because of historical reasons. Poland was erased from the maps of Europe since the end of XVIII until the War World I and partitioned by Austria, Prussia and Russia. After about twenty years of independence the World War II hit Poland hard not only in human but also in economical losses. The consequence of the last war was a communistic system imposed by Soviet Union. During all this time it was not work but rather sabotage that was in value. Acting against the occupant or even against the communistic government was considered an act of courage.

Read more: Work Ethics in Poland: New Class System build by Communists

   

Work Ethics in Poland: Salaries, Working Hours, and Vacation

The salaries depended on the function of the person in a company. There was not really any motivation-related part in the salary that would rely on how good the work was done. Even if there was a flexible part of the salary, it rarely depended on the value of work more on the ideological attitude. The salaries were usually disclosed for the average workers so that everybody could easily find out how much his co-workers earn. But, we never knew how much our political dignitaries or the company executives earned. If somebody was a devoted member of "a party" he/she could achieve a high position being quite mediocre and without any special education or talents.

Read more: Work Ethics in Poland: Salaries, Working Hours, and Vacation

   

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