The signatories – Andrzej Malinowski, President of Employers of Poland; Piotr Duda, Chairman of NSZZ „Solidarność”; Jan Guz, Chairman of OPZZ; and Tadeusz Chwałka, Chairman of FZZ – urged Presdent Andrzej Duda to “make the government reconsider the decisions it made in relation to the tender for multi-task helicopters for the army”.
Representatives of employers and trade unions reminded that the government had approved expenses for the modernization of the armed forced until 2022 – 140 bln PLN. However, in their letter to the President they expresses their serious concern with whether the money will be well spent – that is in a manner that will bring maximum benefits both for the army and Polish economy.
The National Security Strategy, passed in 2014, includes the following statement: “The Polish defense potential – an important element of the economic aspect of defense – should be engaged in the process of the technical modernization of the Polish defense forces as much as possible”.
According to a decision accepted by the government in April, MON will buy 50 helicopters in different versions from the European Airbus Helicopters Company. Offers pertaining to Black Hawks from PZL Mielec and AW149 from PZL Świdnik were rejected “on formal grounds”.
“The German army uses Leopard tanks produced in Germany, Americans fly fighter jets produced by the American company Lockheed Martin, and Great Britain owns 100 British-produced Eurofighter Typhoons. When making decisions on acquisitions these countries take their economic and strategic interests into consideration first and foremost” – the letter reads. Therefore, when deciding to spend 13 bln PLN of taxpayers’ money, the Polish government should be concerned mainly with the interest of the Polish economy and jobs in already existing companies. Meanwhile, settling the tender in favour of a French-German company will create many jobs – but in France, while jobs in domestic companies are either liquidated or at least threatened with liquidation.
The signatories also stress that while army requirements are a key criterion in tenders for military equipment, they cannot be the only one. Huge army contracts should kickstart the economy. “Only an economic policy enabling us to use our potential fully will let us maintain long-term economic growth at a satisfactory level and thus contribute to easing social tensions” – wrote the representatives of employers and unions.