Re: Labor Market Opens in EU
- Aha ... that would explain why there was always so much talk about Poles moving en masse to Ireland and Great Britain while the Germans did not face the influx... (with the troubles in the world economy the last few years many have gone home.. but it was a rich time to work and earn good money in "the west".
--- In Slovak-World@yahoogroups.com, "votrubam" <votrubam@...> wrote:
> > Hiring is now wide open in the EU, as of May 1.
> The novelty concerns only Germany and Austria. The rest of the EU, 25 countries including Slovakia, has been a single labor market for quite a while now, the Slovaks have not needed a work permit in any of the 24 countries, and the citizens of those 24 countries have not needed a work permit in Slovakia. Germany and Austria are the latecomers, they're joining the the rest of the EU, Slovakia and those 24 countries, now.
> Aha ... that would explain why there was always so much talkYes, Ron, although in reality, that difference was not as dramatic. Companies in Germany as well as Austria employed vast numbers of people from the post-communist countries. The difference was that they needed work permits, which were not restrictive -- as long as there was no German/Austrian for the job, whoever wanted it, got it.
> about Poles moving en masse to Ireland and Great Britain while
> the Germans did not face the influx...
The fact that 40 percent Germans worry about a possible influx now is more psychological than real. German economists say that the country has about 400,000 jobs that the locals do not want, and the easier hiring of its eastern neighbors may not fill more than a quarter of them soon. What will happen now is that German employers will find it easier to negotiate lower wages with the new post-com employees and hire people for shorter periods of time.
On the other hand, the willingness among the Slovaks, for instance, to possibly work abroad dropped from about 36 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2009. That's comparable to people's interest to work abroad in older European democracies, including the wealthiest ones.
- Amazing, Ron.
I took a tour of Trencin by a woman who told me what her main job is. She recruits Slovak doctors to work in Germany.
I am not sure of the economics of the transactions, but think it would be very interesting.
Last time I was in Frankfurt in 2005, there was a huge strike by medical personell. It was my impression that they were virtually all civil servants. They marched through the center of the city & the business district, stopping all traffic & the city stood still. We were on one side of this enormous picket line where they all had whistles that they kept blowing that was deafening. After about 45 minutes of this, I told my girlfriend that it was getting ridiculous & that we needed to get lunch or go home & that I was going to cut through.
She laughed at me & told me that if I did, I would probably be arrested. If not beaten up.
It was my first trip to Europe. I did not understand much then. I know only a little bit more today.
Thanks for the info, Ron. You, two are one of the folks who have been incredibly helpful here.
PS forgive my lengthy reply
PPS Where is Helen F? I miss her.
--- On Sun, 5/1/11, Ron <amiak27@...> wrote:
From: Ron <amiak27@...>
Subject: [Slovak-World] Re: Labor Market Opens in EU
Date: Sunday, May 1, 2011, 3:02 PM
From Deutsche Welle
Immigration | 28.04.2011
Germany prepares for Polish influx as labor market opens
Poles can soon seek work in Germany without barriers
Germany is preparing for turbulence on its domestic labor market, which will open up completely to eight eastern European countries on May 1, seven years after they became EU members.
In towns along the Polish-German border, people learned years ago to forget that there is a border between the two nations at all. Poles and Germans have been crossing the frontier without passport checks since 2007, and the two peoples here mingle harmoniously on a daily basis.
But up until now Poles have not been allowed to seek a regular job in Germany because German politicians seven years ago held off on allowing new European Union members full access to the German labor market after the EU's 2004 expansion.
On May 1, the doors to Germany's job market are set to open for Poles and citizens of seven other European countries - the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia - causing widespread fears among ordinary Germans that the new arrivals, particularly from Poland, might snatch away many jobs. Especially in the low-wage sector, an influx of immigration from eastern Europe could mean a lowering of wages.
A Polish worker carries a steel beam on a Frankfurt construction sitePolish workers are often employed in the German construction industry
In a huge vocational training center in the eastern German town of Frankfurt/Oder, near the Polish border, a group of apprentices are being trained for jobs in the building sector.
Companies in some parts of eastern Germany simply can't find enough suitable German workers anymore, and so it seems only logical that the training center has also been welcoming apprentices from Poland, among other nations. Several of the young Polish apprentices say they are willing to consider working in Germany.
"I'm going to study first, and then I'll look for a job - maybe in Germany," said one apprentice named Julia, who added, "In Germany you've got a better chance to work, find employment and earn more money."
Another apprentice, Marek, said Poland is his home, "but I know a lot about German culture as I've already lived here. And I'm willing to go abroad for a job."
Some employers are already looking forward to the liberalization of the labor market. Dieter Kapell, who heads an organization of small and medium-sized German companies in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, believes the future is bright for his companies and for foreign labor.
An Eastern European worker holding a basket full of asparagusEastern European laborers help out with the asparagus harvest
"In the last ten to twelve months we've had a very positive economic development here in Germany. The training of employees is very important, and we need manpower everywhere," he said.
Germany's ambassador to Poland, Rüdiger von Fritsch, agrees that Germany opening its doors will be purely beneficial.
"Anyone looking closely at the situation is actually eagerly awaiting the first of May," he said. "On both sides, the economic situation is developing so rapidly that we surely need additional workers and capital for investment. Companies particularly in eastern Germany are looking for skilled Polish workers willing to work in Germany."
"There will be a further boost to our relations," he added.
While there is a shortage of skilled laborers in Germany, border-crossers will not only be looking for high-level jobs. According to Doro Zinke of the German Trade Unions Association, eastern Europeans with poor job qualifications may indeed be competition for Germans who have jobs or are looking for jobs in the low-wage sector.
An apprentice welder at workGermany has a shortage of skilled workers
"We have collective contracts here, but they are not valid for all industries," she said. "The labor market has never been more deregulated than it is now, and this is our problem today. But it's clearly a home-made problem."
The issue has also struck a chord with the economics minister in Berlin's regional parliament, Harald Wolf, who said that an influx of foreign unskilled workers could hurt Germans, who still do not benefit from a legal minimum wage.
"We still have a debate in Germany that people from most of Europe and the United States can only laugh about," Wolf said.
And then there's the Polish side of things. Robert Marcinkowski, a local councilor from Poland's Gostyn region, says an open German labor market could have a negative impact on Poland, which already experienced a first exodus of skilled workers to Britain, Ireland and other nations where restrictions were not initially imposed.
"Our entrepreneurs cannot rule out that developments after May 1 may lead to an even greater shortage of skilled workers at home, with many skilled workers probably heading toward Germany," he said.
However, Marcinkowski said he "wouldn't overestimate those fears."
"I'd even go so far as to say that the majority of Poles willing to work in Germany already are in Germany," he added.
Author: Hardy Graupner / dl
Editor: Rob Turner
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Last comment on this & I w/ be quiet.
When we were in an antique store in Prague 2 wks ago, I asked when they w/ go to the Euro.
The shop owner replied, "Hopefully never.
The answer surprised me.
After further research, it shouldn't have. The US$ & the Euro are two of the major currencies that have had a rough go lately.
--- On Sun, 5/1/11, Ron <amiak27@...> wrote:
From: Ron <amiak27@...>
Subject: [Slovak-World] Labor Market Opens in EU
Date: Sunday, May 1, 2011, 3:00 PM
From Deutsche Welle, here is their prognosis of labor coming into the country and competing. Hiring is now wide open in the EU, as of May 1. Slovakia is mentioned.
Immigration | 27.04.2011
No place like home: Czechs unmoved by lure of life in Germany
View of Wenceslas Square in Prague
Czechs have not fared badly from an economic point of view
While Germany has long been a favorite destination of immigrants from most of eastern Europe, it has never proved such a big lure for Czechs. Most, it seems, are just too satisfied with life in their homeland.
Two decades ago, most Czechs would have found it unimaginable that they would have the chance to live and work in neighboring Austria or Germany - unfettered by official red tape. On May 1, 2011, that pipe dream becomes reality, but there will be little fanfare: Czech university graduates can already work freely in Germany, while unskilled workers have little incentive to leave their homeland.
"There's a big misconception about Czechs working in Germany, especially if we're talking about highly qualified people," said Hannes Lachmann, spokesman for the Czech-German Chamber of Commerce, as we surveyed the eye-popping panoramic view of Prague from the cupola of his office building on Wenceslas Square.
Students at the university of PilsenCzech university graduates have been able to work in Germany for some time already"[Czech university graduates] have been able to work in Germany since 2009. There are currently no restrictions whatsoever for Czech graduates to work in Germany in this highly qualified segment," he said.
Germany's booming economy needs an estimated 400,000 skilled workers. Yet just 14,000 Czechs are registered as being legally employed in the country, and analysts expect no major change when Germany's labor markets open to all Czech workers - not just graduates - on May 1. So why have so few Czechs taken up the opportunity to work elsewhere in the EU, unlike Slovaks, Latvians, or Poles?
"The Czech Republic really does have a higher standard of living," explained Daniel Munich, a labor market and migration analyst for the Czech Academy of Sciences and Charles University.
Czech purchasing power
"Real wages and purchasing power are greater than in Poland, for many Czechs at least," he added.
"So the difference, the temptation to go to Germany and earn higher wages is not as big as in Poland. Also, I think we have a better welfare system," he said.
euro coins in stacksA good exchange rate for the Czech crown makes the euro seem less attractiveDaniel Munich enumerated the manifold economic and social factors that make moving to Germany or Austria such an unattractive prospect for most Czechs.
Pros and cons, but mostly cons
Wages might be higher across the border, but so are prices. The Czech crown is enjoying a long period of relative strength against the euro. Czechs are not great linguists; few speak fluent German. And for families, moving abroad for work entails a host of expensive logistical challenges, such as paying for childcare - something that's provided for free by willing grandparents back home. All these pull factors, said Munich, work against Czech migration.
And it was ever thus.
"This has been a tradition in the Czech Lands," said Jiri Pehe, an advisor to former Czech president Vaclav Havel and now the director of New York University in Prague.
History of staying put
"Historically, one could see many more Slovaks or Poles moving to find work, whereas the Czechs really emigrated mainly for political reasons or because they were dissatisfied with the regime," Pehe explained.
Children playing under supervisionFree family childcare is just one of the advantages of staying at home "I guess it's because the Czech Lands were doing quite well economically during the First Republic, even under communism, and now after the fall of communism. So I think the economic incentive is really not as strong as in some other countries."
No mention in media
The relaxation of labor restrictions in Germany and Austria has gone almost unmentioned by the Czech media. Nor are job agencies running major campaigns to attract potential Czech migrants. Prague displays all the outward signs of economic prosperity: western shopping and food chains, flashy cars, expensive clothes, and a general sense of well-being. The per capita gross domestic product in the Czech capital has long been higher than the EU average.
And after all, if you're satisfied with your job at Siemens or Bosch in Prague, earning a decent wage, enjoying a high standard of living and able to stay close to your family and friends, what possible incentive would you have to up sticks to work for Siemens or Bosch in Frankfurt, Stuttgart or Düsseldorf?
Author: Rob Cameron, Prague
Editor: Susan Houlton
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