In response to recent allegations, the CEO of PKN Orlen, Poland’s leading fuel company, has denied claims that workers employed at the construction of the Olefiny III petrochemical complex in central Poland are illegal migrants. Daniel Obajtek stated that the company’s massive investments necessitate hiring workers from around the world.
PKN Orlen has been undertaking a significant expansion project in Plock, central Poland, with the aim of making the new complex operational by 2025. This facility is expected to raise Plock’s share in the country’s petrochemical production from the current 14 percent to an impressive 19 percent.
During an interview with Radio Zet broadcaster, Daniel Obajtek emphasized that Hyundai-Reunidas, the company awarded the construction tender for the complex, is an international company. According to him, only three companies worldwide possess the capabilities to undertake such projects. Obajtek added that these companies employ workers from various regions globally, affirming that they are not illegal migrants but are formally employed by their respective companies.
In response to criticism from opposition leader Donald Tusk, who claimed that Poland has admitted 50 times more migrants than in 2015, Obajtek clarified that the foreign workers involved in the construction project have been hired solely for the duration of the investment. He further mentioned that out of the total 14,000 workers employed, approximately 8,000 will be Polish nationals.
Obajtek emphasized that all foreign workers arrive in Poland without their families and depart upon completion of their assigned tasks. Jakub Zgorzelski, the COO of Hyundai Engineering Tecnicas Reunidas, the consortium leading the expansion project, supported Obajtek’s statement, confirming that the foreign workers are specifically employed for the investment project and not for permanent settlement.
According to Zgorzelski, approximately 2,500 people are currently working on the construction of the Olefiny III complex, with 60 to 70 percent of them being migrants from countries such as India, Pakistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Spain, and others. However, Zgorzelski anticipates that during the peak phase of the project, between 10,000 and 13,000 people will be working at the construction site, including around 6,000 foreign workers.
These revelations about the employment of foreign workers come at a time when the Polish government is strongly opposing the EU-proposed migrant relocation plan, which suggests mandatory migrant quotas for member states or the payment of a per-capita financial equivalent if a country refuses to admit migrants. Recently, the lower parliamentary house, the Sejm, passed a resolution condemning the EU’s migrant relocation scheme. Additionally, the ruling Law and Justice party is considering a referendum on the EU’s plans to impose migrant quotas on member states.