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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure PL-2021-1/1735 Updated – measures in Poland

Business rebellion and controversies surrounding public support for enterprises

Bunt przedsiębiorców i kontrowersje wokół publicznego wsparcia przedsiębiorstw

Country Poland , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 January 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Non-binding recommendations or other texts
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Other
Author Jan Czarzasty (Warsaw School of Economics) and Eurofound
Measure added 20 January 2021 (updated 12 August 2021)

Background information

Following the ongoing second lock-down in force since November, and subsequent deterioration of economic and social conditions, in particular related to effective closing down (or seriously reducing the scale of operations) in dozens of economic branches, business community started to express signs of disappointment and frustration with inadequate scale of public support measures offered. One of the events igniting the anger of micro, small and medium business owners was the modest size of the list of branches (originally only 38 NACE sections named) entitled to support under the Financial Shield 2.0, see case PL-2021-1/1640 .

As a result from December onwards there has been a trend of opening businesses despite sanitary restrictions in place. There were also numerous public pickets organised around the country under the banner of Strajk Przedsiębiorców (Business on Strike), a bottom-up type of social movement of business owners (showing also some political aspirations).

Content of measure

The movement does not have any specific demands. The agenda consists of general postulates such as relaxation of sanitary restrictions, more transparency and predictability in state policies regarding lock-down (the practice of making decision on day-to-day basis is a subject to strong criticism) and more substantial support for the business struggling to survive. Currently, the main action is to compile a list of business intending to seek damages from the government due to introducing sanitary restrictions negatively affecting business operations without proper legal basis (state of emergency has never been introduced in Poland since the first outbreak of COVID-19 and this is the main basis for the business owners to claim the restrictions are actually illegal).

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

11 August 2021

With the second lockdown over in May 2021, the scale of movement's activities has been largely reduced. Yet, it has not ceased to exist. It remains to be seen what actions, if any, the movement initiates upon the expected arrival of a new wave of the pandemic.

31 March 2021

The movement has continued its operations, website has been launched . The main activities thus far have been focused on legal advise for business owners who decide to open their businesses amidst vague emergency regulations. The protest activities, including street pickets and rallies, have also continued in the 1st quarter of 2021.

Use of measure

No precise data is available, yet since December (and increasing quickly in January) the number of business opening despite sanitary restrictions in force is on the rise (indicated by growing popularity of #otwieraMy hashtag).

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Applies to all citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

There is no official involvement of social partners.

Views and reactions

No official views expressed by the social partners.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2021), Business rebellion and controversies surrounding public support for enterprises, measure PL-2021-1/1735 (measures in Poland), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/PL-2021-1_1735.html

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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.