For the past two months we have been dealing with the case of a restaurant at the Main Market Square in Krakow that has not been paying its employees. We estimate that there are approx. 20 people. The employer usually employed on a contract of mandate [illegal due to the existence of an employment relationship], did not pay the money on time and eventually stopped paying it at all.

Most of the workers stopped working due to the lack of wages, and now the restaurant owner continues to delay payment, but this does not prevent him from looking for new people to exploit. What is striking is that the employer is clearly targeting the employment of people from the Ukraine, probably thinking that such a worker is easier to exploit. Fortunately, the employees of the catering establishment have come forward to seek help from the UHR. One of the individuals is Yana, a refugee from Ukraine.

Yana arrived in Poland on 17 March, coming from Odessa. Back home she worked as a legal advisor. In Poland she was hired as a kitchen helper in the aforementioned restaurant in Krakow, but unfortunately the boss stopped paying his employees. This was her first job in Poland, after fleeing the war.

In the workforce, she stands out for her courage and her willingness to help other refugees, especially women, who may be cheated by employers. She wants to warn anyone who might work at the restaurant, as many employees have not received their paychecks for months, and withholding pay is most likely a business way for the owners to make money. Yana is unmarried, has no children and lives alone in Krakow. She is a young woman who is learning Polish to increase her chances of finding a job in Poland. She dreams of working as a lawyer again, just as she did back home. As for what she’s doing to fight for her rights, she wrote a complaint to the State Labour Inspectorate herself, even though she doesn’t speak Polish very well and only arrived here 4 months ago! She is also brave enough to talk about the problem of her former workplace directly on the Internet, where she warns other employees of the local catering industry.