Struggles Faced by Traditional Craftsmen in Poland
Traditional craftsmen in Poland are facing significant challenges in sustaining their businesses and livelihoods. The rising costs of running a business, coupled with a decline in demand for their services, are pushing many craftsmen to consider alternative career paths or even early retirement.
Marian Kazimierski, a shoemaker with 40 years of experience, expresses his concerns about the current situation. He points out that the mandatory contributions to the Social Security Institution (ZUS) and the non-deductible health insurance premiums are putting a strain on his finances. Additionally, the decreasing purchasing power of the population has resulted in fewer people being able to afford shoe repairs. Kazimierski has been in the shoe restoration business for a long time, but the demand has significantly declined in recent years. Fortunately, he has 58 years of work experience and can consider retiring.
Jarosław Lisiecki, a watchmaker from Łódź, shares similar sentiments. He highlights the high costs of running a business, such as ZUS contributions, health insurance premiums, rent, utilities, and heating. These expenses amount to over 4,000 złoty per month for Lisiecki. However, the decrease in demand for traditional watch repairs due to the rise of smartphones and smartwatches has made it increasingly difficult for him to sustain his business. The cost of replacing a watch battery is as low as 20 złoty, making it challenging to cover the expenses incurred in running a watchmaking business.
The struggles faced by craftsmen like Kazimierski and Lisiecki have led to some considering alternative career paths, while others have been forced to close their businesses prematurely. The situation calls for attention and support for traditional craftsmen, who are dealing with the changing times and the impact of technological advancements on their industries.