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Theoretical Framework: Neoliberalism

The polish government had to undertake a thorough restructuring process to have a smooth transition process from a communist economy to a capitalist economy. Theorists and policymakers had to go back to the drawing board to have a thorough review of the prior market state relation that existed across the board over the communism period. The privatisation process had to be put under a thorough scrutiny (Grzegorz W. K. , p 48), deregulate certain economic arrangements and perhaps sturdily deal with the challenges that appeared abound with the onset of globalisation.

The post Washington consensus also needed to be reviewed with renewed gait to ensure the effects of the charter would not eat into the transitioning economy. The aspect of public utility privatisation became very palpable prompting the development of a draft legislation that would make the transfer effective. While the council activists were opposed to the transfer and commercialisation of the utilities, the government went ahead to privatise the firms (Camdessus M. , p 363). The basis of the rejection was based on the fact that the privatisation implied recentralisation power, particularly those related to the economy.

In 1990, the legislation on the privatisation and commercialisation of the public utility firms was passed by government. This gave the process a green light to go ahead and have the utilities transferred to private ownership without much ado. However, the council which had been opposed to this arrangement was given powers by the government to vet the plans for privatisation. Stocks were used as the central medium of transfer. Further, with the review of the provision, the council was given the leeway to have their firms dissolved and leased off or its assets sold to new corporations.

Besides, the new corporation developed were allowed to have its employees own its shares. This however, seemed to give loopholes related to employee ownership. The year 1991 saw the transfer of most of the firms to the private sector. However, this transfer witnessed a shift from public transfer to mass transfer of the utilities. The transfer was done in phases with the ministry first identifying 500 utilities that it deemed a priority in the privatisation process. The government also developed a mutual fund whose shares were to be given to the public. The ministry did not have the going that smooth.

Most firms were not willing to be privatised that easily. However, an estimated 250 (Onis, Z. , p 240) firms were made joint-stock companies by the end of 1991. The ministry’s central objective of having the firms privatised was to have the firms’ performance improved. Contrary to these expectations, this was not to be; the firms’ performance is said to have actually deteriorated. The firm managers on their part had expected better treatment from the government. This never came to be the case and hence they seemed to develop some resentment. They argued that the move was a probable scare for customers (V Calomiris, C. W.

, p 347). They argued that until the owners were identified the restructuring was inconsequential. The directors of the boards that were put in charge seemed to lack the moral and legal mandate to have the managers change this behaviour. At the very point and period of transition; the trade unionism was on the verge of collapse. This collapse was precipitated by the ascension across the globe of economic Neoliberalism. This policy became a common tenet of the Polish economic policies and dominated the economic orthodoxy of Poland. During the transitional period financial institutions from the west played a pivotal role in Poland.

The success of Neoliberalism (Woller, G. M, Hart, D. K. , p 20) was largely pecked on the western economies. The institutions are largely credited for the shaping and reforming the economy of Poland. The efforts by persons particularly those in the labour unions played a central role in the establishment of a market economy in Poland. In retrospect, the role of the international institutions had a major influence on white collar jobs. The increase in the role played by the international financial institutions from the west had much influence on the role of trade unions in Poland.

Common during the transitional period was the transfer of the ownership of state owned premises to private proprietors from the west (Onis, Z. , p 251). Most of these unfolding were precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent dissolving of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance. The very period within which Poland was undergoing a transition saw the development cultural trends such as pop culture and consumerism. Apparently, this largely affected the solidarity culture which had relied largely on patriotism, social solidarity and sacrifice.

While solidarity had during communism existed as a trade union, it had turned into a social outfit. However, the inception of globalisation saw concept of solidarity decline to its very knees. Though the nomenklatura capitalism would have played a gigantic role in the development of the present day Poland, it is argued that it did the last blow on the solidarity. The capitalism introduced looked at solidarity as a central support for socialism which was largely discredited. The aftermath of the incessant struggle saw the full embrasure of capitalism by workers and trade unionists alike.

The rejection witnessed during the neoliberal period seemed to be an aspect of neoliberal reform. The strategy was adopted by the polish post communist reform proponents. Privatisation was not only perceived as a sine non quo for the systematic reformation of the economy but was also viewed as a way through which the influence of workers was to be trimmed (Calomiris, C. W. , p 347). On addition, devoid of any surprises, the government did not develop any framework within which the workers would be appreciated at their place of work and how they would participate in any emergent issues.

Nevertheless, the neoliberal strategy in Poland encountered massive challenges and hostility (United Nations Development Program). The hostility was particularly witnessed in the plant based representation of workers. Clearly, the only strategy that worked successfully during the neoliberal time was largely dependent on proactive participation of the councils of employees and their support. Though the councils stood changes of losing support after the privatisation process, most of them were named to head the formed corporations.

The Polish government later realised that the pronounced industrial relations was after all a liability towards industrial reform. Overall (Bullard, N. , Bello, W. , Mallhotra, K. p 514) the government of Poland in the neoliberal period had the least option but to have some regulations on the negotiation of workers at the plant level. Poland was ideally at the risk to replace the then inherent institutions for any such incidental negotiations. The prevailing structure of industrial association seemed to have lost its competitive advantage for the negotiation of the affairs of the workers.

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