Precarity in the IT Sector

Thousands of workers in the Polish IT Sector have failed to find the well-paid jobs and instead face the realities of a sector full of precarious working conditions.

A number of problems exist in the sector.

The first is the outsourcing and insourcing of work. The company avoids direct contracting of the workers. Instead, the use the services of outside companies, known in the industry as „peddlars of human goods”, which act as intermediaries take a good percent of the money spent on the workers. Companies have less responsibility towards these workers and do not have the same obligations towards them as towards permanent employees.

Not all insourced workers are contracted in the same way. Employees of temporary work agencies have some protection under the relevant acts. But companies often avoid even this form of casual work and try to conclude civil contracts, including contracts for specific work, with the workers. Some workers are forced to set up their own businesses and pretend to be „service providers” for their actual employers. In this way, the cost of social insurance payments are put on the workers and the employers can avoid the guarantees and protection offered to workers under the Labour Code. These „workers-non-workers” are not entitled to the same benefits as normal employees.

Another category of worker is in an even worse situation. These are ones who are contracted out by others who have their „own” business activity, contracting with the firm, but selling somebody else's labour, keeping a part of the remuneration for themselves. These business owners in fact act like work agencies, but are not licensed as such and are not regulated in the same way. Workers in fact have more legal protection using a work agency.

The above category of worker is increasingly common in the sector, forced to sign trash contracts and deprived of benefits such as paid vacation and sick pay.

Another problem we face are attempts to make what should be stable work into a series of short-term contracts. Then the IT worker is given short-term tasks, that can last even for months. All of this is made on a civil contract for specific work.

As if this wasn't bad enough, increasingly lower salaries are being offered while requirements made on workers and workload are increasing. All the time workers are threatened with job loss. If they are not flexible enough or do not agree to the bad conditions, an outsourcing firm can be found (for example in India), which will do this work for less money.

This situation has very dire consequences for many workers who find themselves without a proper pension or benefits, working themselves too much and incurring occupational health risks (such as repetitive strain injuries, problems with eyesight, headaches, neck and back pain).

In order to improve the situation in the industry, we strive for workers self-organization to fight for change.

We also need to put effective pressure on the system to treat these problems of precarization seriously, to enact and implement measures to diminish the abuse of outsourcing and use of trasg contracts. This pressure needs to come from below, from the workers themselves and has to be serious.

IT workers, the system needs to be hacked and attacked!

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