(I didn’t take the above photo, it’s kindly released under the Creative Commons licence by secretlondon. Let it be known I couldn’t get close enough to take a picture of a newspaper like the one shown above without doing some terribly bad things to anyone in the vicinity.)
Do you know why Polish men are taking your jobs?
It’s a reputation thing.
You are lewd, crude, you go home early, your work is sometimes shoddy, you have no regard for the environment around you. You are often highly dangerous and don’t conform to basic safety standards, and this sometimes puts the general public at risk.
I feel the stereotype is so strong and so true, it warrants generalisations like this. If it were just a few making a bad name for the many then I would hold back.
To say that you are unprofessional doesn’t come close to describing your work ethic.
For example, anyone who walked outside my house this morning may have been hit in the head by one of about 200 heavy metal clamps, thrown from the top of a three storey building, and most probably killed. Anyone who tried to park in an empty parking space between two parked cars would have been unable to, due to clamps littering the pavement and the road. Anyone who drove along the stretch of the road involved may have unwittingly hit a clamp with their tyre.
I don’t mind that you never show up until minimum two weeks after you were supposed to. The Polish workforce can be equally unreliable. It’s a supply / demand thing. I don’t fully understand it: builders are perpetually late, why not just build some management of expectation into the system and add two weeks onto the proposed time… oh I see, it’s because you don’t want to lose the work. No, I don’t fully understand, but it doesn’t rile me too much. After all I can just build that 2 weeks delay into my project expectations. (I speak like I do building projects, I’ve never hired a builder in my life.) In fact I can understand why Polish builders have to adopt that same attitude of saying “yes” and lying about the start date: they have to be competetive in the marketplace and actually get the work in the first place. The difference that gets me is what happens once they do turn up.
And if there are any contract managers out there who feel this is grossly unfair to the population of British builders who do take their work seriously, may I suggest you use your power and influence in the sector to change the systemic attitude whereby it’s okay for a contract manager to recruit 18 year olds with no qualifications or training, and put their lives at risk, and pay them very little, just as long as the job gets done, and the manager gets paid.