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Job agency targets Polish workers

From a local UK newspaper

Essex Job agency targets Polish workers

WALKING past the window of this recruitment agency, you could be forgiven for thinking you're in Warsaw, not Southend.

The window at Jark Recruitment, in London Road, is jam-packed with job notices in Polish, advertising for low-skilled work across the area.

Jark, one of the UK's largest independent recruitment companies, has capitalised on the surge in the Polish population in Southend, specialising in finding work for them and even setting up an office in the Polish capital.

Daria Siedlarska, co-ordinator at the Southend branch, said she could not say how many Polish people the agency had placed in jobs in the area, but there was plenty of demand.

She said: "The majority of the jobs we are advertising are basic, like packing and picking on production lines for rates of around the basic wage of £5.52.

"There are plenty of Poles in the Southend area looking for work like this and there are plenty of jobs in the area too."

She added: "We also employ English people, who would read about the same jobs on the other side of the board."

In March 2006, Jark opened an office in Warsaw to supply skilled and unskilled workers to businesses in Poland and the UK.

At the time director, Richard Morrissey said: "Poland is a country with great growth potential for Jark Recruitment.

"It is the largest country in central and eastern Europe with a population of 38 million, but unemployment of 20 per cent, which rises to 35 per cent outside the cities.

"Since the EU enlargement in May 2004, 173,000 Polish workers have applied for work in the UK, the highest number of all the EU nations."

The influx of Polish workers was given a guarded welcome by John Clayton, chief executive of the Southend-based Essex Chambers of Commerce.

He said: "I have a high regard for them. They work hard, do a good job and fill in gaps in the economy in the county, the region and the country.

"There is an issue if local people don't have the skills we want and the Poles have.

"The other issue to be managed is if the Poles want to stay here with their families"