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Pańków, Włodzimierz

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Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | 07/07/2007

The showdown with Polish nurses

For three weeks now nurses in Poland have been striking for higher wages. To highlight their protest they have set up a huge camp of tents, referred to as the 'white city', in front of Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński's official residence. Talking to Adam Leszczyński, Warsaw sociologist Włodzimierz Pańków explains why the nurses, who have always been poorly paid, are fighting with such determination this time. "In the past people didn't demonstrate because in times of recession and sky-high unemployment rates of almost 20 percent, protest was virtually impossible. Recessions are not good for social mobilisation. On the contrary, they atomise society. Everyone is scared of losing their job... Now the most dissatisfied have emigrated and this has encouraged those who remain. Demands for pay rises become louder when people are less afraid and those who are making the demands can count on allies."

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