Ever since 1990 when Lech Walesa ousted the Communists and introduced free market economics, even a tangential reference to Poland was enough to send Kerala Marxists running for cover.
Remember Prabhakaran's (Sreenivasan) hyper-emotional response to his brother Prakashan's (Jayaram) mention of Poland in the Sathyan Anthikkad movie 'Sandesham' that released a year after Walesa pushed out the Communists? The likes of comrade Prabhakaran seem to have calmed, become more practical.
Kerala's Marxist-led government, setting aside its ideological hurt, has now struck a deal with the Polish government for the placement of Kerala's skilled scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates in Poland's automobile, heavy industry, health and hospitality sectors. This is the first time Kerala is entering into an employment agreement with Poland.
Even Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki's repeated reminders, even as recently as December 29, 2019, of Communism's excesses has not stood in the way of the Kerala government's push to find Polish jobs for its marginalised groups.
Morawiecki hates Communists with a passion that can unsettle Kerala's Marxists. “The crimes of the communist regime started even before the outbreak of World War II – the starvation of millions of Russians at the beginning of the 1920s; the Great Famine, which led to the deaths of millions of inhabitants of Ukraine and Kazakhstan; the Great Purge, during which nearly 700,000 political opponents and ordinary citizens of the USSR, mostly Russians, were murdered,” he said on December 29, last year.
As for the Marxists in Kerala, the idea of Soviet Union still evokes a proletariat's paradise.
Still, this mutual mistrust was nowhere to be seen when a high-level delegation from the Polish Embassy met the minister for the welfare of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes A K Balan on January 15 and expressed its desire to take the employment deal forward.
In fact, the Marxist-led government had been working on the deal for some time. “The SC/ST Department had been sending feelers for quite some time. Some informal talks, too, had been held,” a top official in the minister's office said. The January 15 meeting was the fruition of such backroom consultations held over a period of nearly two years.
It is said to be a win-win deal. Kerala wanted jobs for its skilled men and women from the SC and ST communities and Poland was desperate for manpower. There is a massive shortage of workers in Poland. The situation in Poland is so grim that a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)study estimates the manpower deficit to touch 1.5 million workers by 2025.
“The Poland delegation has informed us that there are many opportunities in various sectors. The highest need are in sectors like automobile, construction, heavy industries, lift operations, packaging, meat processing, health and hospitality,” A K Balan's office said.
The January 15 meeting was just a preliminary discussion. “The delegation will soon send us a detailed list of job opening in various sectors in Poland,” the official in the minister's office said. Poland has even agreed to provide both job and language training to the selected candidates.
As it is, the SC/ST Department now gives training in various employment skills for SC and ST youths. “If the jobs in Poland require any specialised training, we will use top training agencies in the country to provide that,” the official said. “If that does not work out, a team from Poland will arrive in Kerala and impart the necessary training to a select group of candidates. These trained candidates can then train others,” he added.
Many jobs, especially in companies run by the Polish, require a command of the Polish language. During the January 15 meeting, the Polish delegation had even agreed to open a Polish Culture Centre in Kerala, on the lines of Germany's Goethe-Zentrum or France's Alliance Francaise, to offer language training.
The first batch of SC/ST candidates are expected to fly to Poland in six months.