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WHAT goes around comes around…

The United Kingdom saw an influx of something like 600,000 Polish workers when its borders were opened up to new EU citizens a couple of years ago. Press articles and news comment then flourished on the subject of British workers being denied jobs as they were “stolen” from under their noses by Polish nationals willing to work for less money.

So it was interesting when, a few weeks ago, some of Spinnaker’s consultants spent a training day visiting a Star Reefers vessel and discussing life at sea with the Master, a veteran Polish seafarer. This wonderful man, who gave up his time to show us round his gleaming ship, and who has dedicated his entire career to the sea, told us that in Poland they have exactly the same situation!

Polish workers apparently have difficulty finding work because of an influx of cheap labour from The Ukraine. The situation is exacerbated because a considerable number of Poles are now returning home.

At the skilled end of the maritime market in Poland, the effects of the Polish brain-drain are being felt and we are now seeing some shipping jobs in Poland attracting the same kinds of salary as in Western Europe. This begs the question ‘why stay in a foreign country away from family and friends when you can earn just as much at home?’ It will be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend. Are shoreside shipping salaries rising in Poland? Will we see more Polish shipping professionals returning?

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