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Polish government under pressure as thousands protest over unemployment

Polish government under pressure as thousands protest over unemployment
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Tens of thousands of protesters have flooded the Polish capital Warsaw, to demand more jobs and better pay.

They claim the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk has failed to tackle unemployment. The jobless rate stands at 13.1 percent, after hitting a six-year high of 14.4 percent in February.

The Polish economy had seen two decades of uninterrupted growth, but narrowly avoided recession at the start of the year.

It has since shown signs of picking up, but the recovery has been too weak to significantly bring down unemployment, especially among young people.

“There are many problems, social and economic. Most of the artists with me today are young people, unemployed people, educated people, for whom there is no place in our country. They are forced to leave the country,” said Marek, a protester from Lublin.

Another demonstrator, Ola from Opole, added: “We have to protest because it’s getting worse. Compared to Western states we are a sinking ship. This is despite the fact that we have the prerequisites to become a European powerhouse. The average Pole doesn’t have money to buy bread.”

The Polish government has brought in a variety of financial measures to breathe life into the country’s economy. But the medicine will not bring about a quick cure, much to the frustration of voters.

The economic slowdown has brought Tusk’s government approval ratings to their lowest levels since he came to power six years ago. Opinion polls from recent weeks have shown that his party has lost ground to the opposition.