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polish worker in france

The polish worker in france

In the 1920s, French travailleur polonaise en France leaders were largely committed to mass immigration from Eastern Europe, with a special emphasis on seasonal workers in the agricultural sector. This was part of a policy to encourage industrial growth by promoting a low-wage labor market and increasing the supply of cheap labor, while avoiding a demographic collapse that would threaten the economic viability of the state social welfare system.

Coal and farm employers favored the Societe Generale d’immigration (SGI), a private commercial recruitment service that imported Poles to mines and farms. Employers viewed the SGI as a necessary alternative to government intervention in importing labor because they were unwilling to allow government agencies to control this important prerogative of management.

\Polish Workers Abroad: Opportunities in France

The SGI was financed by coal and farm employers who channelled requests for Polish labor through it. The SGI was also able to attract the cooperation of the great industrial associations, which in turn promoted the SGI and its activities.

SGI recruited Poles for employment in France from a pool of workers who were waiting to be hired, and then paid them in Poland, in zlotys, at the rate negotiated by the employer, a practice hidden by salaries which appeared to conform to French standards. The company charged workers for housing, food and shuttle buses to take them to work every day.

Today, the Franco-Polish community is geographically concentrated but disunited. The younger generation, however, has a less troubled relationship with its Polish origins and is more open to discovering its culture than their elders. Consequently, it is not surprising that they are more interested in traveling to Poland than ever before and taking advantage of opportunities available there.


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