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29 September 2016

Poland: trade union freedom for the self-employed, atypical workers and trainees

The Polish government is to adopt a bill granting trade union freedom to non-salaried workers

Three million Polish workers are subject to ‘atypical’ forms of employment (self-employment or ‘trash’ contracts to use the Polish term), which exclude them from the protection and guarantees offered by the Labour Code. The lack of an employment contract prevents them in particular from becoming a member of a trade union or forming a trade union.

This discrimination, which was declared unlawful by the Constitutional Court in 2015, needs to be removed from the legislation. As a result, in March 2016 the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy tabled an initial text with this aim in mind, before publishing a new version of its bill in August. This goes much further than the previous text, as it grants trade union freedom to trainees, ‘volunteers’ and others who work unpaid. The initiative needs to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers before being submitted to Parliament.

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