Miejskie Zakłady Autobusowe in Warsaw came up with an idea to attract new drivers. There are over a hundred of them missing in the capital alone. Transport companies in many cities have similar deficiencies. The problem is so big that sometimes rates are dropped from the schedules. A general strike is possible in the Warsaw Commuter Railway. Material by Łukasz Wieczorek from the “Polska i Świat” magazine TVN24.
Mr. Rafał has been a driver of the Warsaw MZA for half a year. Since childhood, he dreamed of working behind the wheel. He was encouraged to work for the city carrier by taking a free driving course. And this one isn’t cheap. This amount is approximately PLN 10,000.
The problem with the lack of drivers is so great – only the Warsaw MZA lacks over 100 employees – that the city tempts with further bonuses. – We provide housing for people who come to us – says Adam Stawicki, spokesman for MZA in Warsaw.
People from outside Warsaw can count on the apartment. Of course not forever. – We provide this premises for 15 months. So that the employee can organize himself in the new workplace – explains Stawicki.
– Today we can immediately accept several dozen new drivers – says Malwina Kaczor, spokeswoman for the Public Transport Company in Katowice.
There are not vacancies everywhere
We asked transport companies in selected cities whether they have problems with the lack of drivers and tram drivers. This problem does not exist in Toruń, Zielona Góra, Lublin, Kielce and Częstochowa. The following companies complain about vacancies: Szczecin, Olsztyn, Białystok, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz, Poznań, Łódź, Wrocław and Opole.
It sometimes happens that due to staff shortages, the bus does not arrive at the stop. – We won’t hide it. There are such courses. We are short of drivers. Sometimes during the week there is a shortage of five drivers per thousand who are employed. But there are also days when everyone leaves, says Katarzyna Pawlak, spokeswoman for MPK in Wrocław.
Public transport organizers work hard to arrange schedules. To keep the courses on schedule, they bring in people from other private companies. – There are simply no people on the market who have the appropriate qualifications and predispositions to work in this admittedly difficult profession – comments Piotr Wasiak, spokesman for MPK in Łódź.
Drivers’ salaries are increasing
Older drivers are retiring. Younger people choose competition that pays more. How much will the driver earn to start? In the capital’s MZA it is PLN 6,500 gross, plus allowances and an annual bonus under the employment contract. – Over the last dozen or so months, the increases amounted to approximately PLN 1,500, says Stawicki.
– From December 1, there will be a raise for the lowest-earning drivers and tram drivers. This is PLN 6,010 gross with all statutory allowances, declares Katarzyna Pawlak.
Carriers are looking for people to work everywhere. For example: in Łódź and Wrocław, a campaign addressed to women was created.
Train drivers threaten to strike
It is also difficult to find a train driver on the market. Those from the Warsaw Commuter Railway are fighting for pay rises. They have already organized a warning strike. The trains stopped for two hours. Last chance talks will take place on November 28. – I hope we will reach an agreement. If we do not achieve this goal, unfortunately we will have to go on a general strike, says Sławomir Centkowski from the Trade Union of Machinists in Poland.
What are the chances of reaching an agreement? – We do not take a position before the meeting – replies WKD spokesman Krzysztof Kulesza.
The drivers plan that if they do not reach an agreement with the management, they will stop the trains for two hours every day – in the morning and in the afternoon.
Main photo source: TVN24