08 December 2011

Polish UK residents unwittingly buying Payment Protection Insurance

The UK is in the grip of a financial mis-selling scandal concerning payment protection cover – otherwise known as “PPI”. This cover is added as an insurance bolt on to loan and credit card debts that borrowers accrue. The insurance whilst perfectly viable is prone to overcharging and in many instances has been completely missold to individuals who could never benefit from the insurance given their circumstances.

This cover is ideally suited to people who are in employment and through no fault of their own end up out of work. It follows that the cover is not suited to those who are self employed or already suffer from illness or ailments. However many thousands of people in this group were coerced into buying the cover. Many Polish nationals have wrongly assumed the cover was conditional upon them agreeing to the loan / credit card. This has never been the case.

For more advice on PPI compensation claims speak to a solicitor specializing in financial misselling cases

10 November 2010

UK warned over migrant workers

The European Commission has issued a warning to the UK over its “discriminatory” rules for workers coming into the country from the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Commission has rebuked the UK government because migrant workers currently cannot claim welfare benefits if they have spent less than a year working in the UK, it argues that the workers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland, the countries which joined the EU in 2004, should enjoy the same rights as UK nationals.

When the countries originally joined the EU, most member states kept work permit restrictions and quotas in place but these were mostly lifted a couple of years later. The Commission said that such restrictions should last no longer than seven years and must be proportionate. It reiterated the directive that workers should have the freedom to live and work in another EU member state.

The UK introduced a Worker Registration Scheme (WRS) to try and prevent “benefit tourism” in 2004. WRS applicants totalled 118,675 in 2009, with just over half the applicants coming from Poland.

06 October 2010

Poles returning to the UK

Polish workers are returning to the UK in the belief that the worst of the economic crisis is over according to new data.

Figures released by the Migrant Information Source show that from the beginning of the year up to the end of June that Poles in the UK rose by 53,000.

Although Poland avoided recession in 2009 there is still 11% unemployment and the standard of living is not considered to be as good as it good as it is in the UK.

The increase in migrants is good news to those involved in the preparation of the London 2012 Olympics, as they were worried about a labour force shortage affecting the building programme which the latest influx should help address.

07 July 2010

New President for Poland elected

Bronislaw Komorowski has won the race to become Poland's next president.  Yesterday he received confirmation from the National Electoral Commission of his victory.

The elections were called after the tragic plane crash in April in which the former president, Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were killed.

Bronislaw Komorowski has beaten the former Presidents twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski in the race to become the next president.

The president-elect should make a solemn oath to uphold the Polish constitution no later than the 11th August, giving the Supreme Court time to look into any protests about the election not being fair.

Will Bronislaw Komorowski make a good President or would Jaroslaw Kaczynski have been better for Poland?

30 June 2010

Poland has the cheapest food in the EU

Poland's food and non-alcoholic drinks in a comparable shopping basket to other European Union member states was found to be an average of 36 percent cheaper according to figures reported by Eurostat.

In the survey carried out by the Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union during 2009, prices from the 37 participating countries for food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and tobacco were compared across around 500 comparable products.

In a breakdown Polish bread and cereals were 42 percent cheaper than the average for all EU member states with meat being 44 percent cheaper, milk, cheese and eggs 37 percent cheaper, tobacco 48 percent cheaper and alcoholic beverages 11 percent cheaper.

Overall Poland was found to have the lowest prices on average closely followed bt Bulgaria and Romania.  Denmark averages the highest prices at around 40 percent overall more than the EU average.

What the survey fails to mention is that wages in Poland are also below the EU members states average.

12 April 2010

Poland's President and other senior figures die in a plane crash in Russia

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria were killed in a plane crash on Saturday 10th April 2010 along with 95 others, including senior Polish political, military, business and cultural figures, when a plane they were travelling on crashed in Western Russia near Smolensk.

The Polish contingent were on route to a Second World War memorial service for Polish victims of a massacre by Soviet secret police at Katyn, in Smolensk when the plane they were travelling on is thought to have been flying too low in heavy fog and crashed into trees.

Among the dead were:
  • Anna Walentynowicz, the women sacked in the Gdansk shipyard in 1980 which led to the strike and creation of the Solidarity movement.
  • Aleksander Szczyglo the Chief of National Security.
  • Franciszek Gagor the Chief of the General Staff.
  • Andrzej Blasik, head of the air force.
  • Andrzej Karweta the head of the navy.
  • Tadeusz Buk land forces commander.
  • Aleksander Szczyglo, head of the National Security Office.
  • Slawomir Skrzypek the Governor of the National Bank of Poland
  • Ryszard Kaczorowski the former Exiled President.
Lech Kaczynski's body has been returned to Poland where it was driven through packed streets to the presidential palace where it will lie in state for a week, acting Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski has called for a week of mourning.

Poles around the UK have attended services to pay their respects to those who lost their lives, some churches were so full that people were kneeling outside during services.

The irony is that Poland should lose so many senior figures on a visit to commemorate Poland's elite officer corps who were killed in a World War II massacre in Russia in the same region, this should give the conspiracy theorists plenty to speculate about.

Though Lech Kaczynski's policies were not popular with all Polish people, the countries people will unite, as they alway do through difficult times.

Have your say, was Lech Kaczynski a good leader?  How will this affect the Polish way of life?

31 March 2010

English based supermarket meat supplier insists on fluent Polish speaking workers

Earlier this month a job advert was posted for factory workers in East Anglia insisting that they speak fluent Polish.  Forza AW the cooked meat manufacturer who are a major supplier for Asda, claimed that it was necessary as all health and safety training was conducted in Polish.

Forza has been accused discrimination against British people and the advertisement is almost certainly illegal Under the 1976 Race Relations Act which states that 'unless there is a genuine need for a worker to speak a particular language it is against the law to require that they should do so as a condition of employing them.’

Polish workers are seen as not complaining as much as their British counterparts and being hard working for lower pay, but often they are mistreated and suffer verbal and even physical abuse and are made to work in unsafe conditions.  Unscrupulous employers take advantage of this because often foreign workers won't express concerns for fear of the sack.

The Sunday Mail, who uncovered and investigated the advertisement, rang the employment agency OSR several times over the course of four days, and the requirement to be fluent speaking in Polish slowly receded to actually it's 'not too important now' after the jobs had been filled.

These kinds of  negative press incidents can alienate migrant workers from the British people who see this as an injustice.  But what the British people sometimes fail to realise is that it is NOT the Polish migrant workers fault that an employer has targeted them with the job advert, possibly with exploitation in mind, they just want to do an honest days work for a honest days pay.