Wrocław has just sneaked inside a list of Poland's top ten highest earning towns or cities according to average salaries.
The list, compiled by Poland's National Statistics Office, makes for some shocking reading. The nation's capital, Warsaw, doesn't even come in first place as it was runner up to the town of Jastrzębie-Zdrój, which benefits from the tourism and mining industry.
Other cities in the mining rich region of Silesia – Katowice, Gliwice, Dąbrowa Górnicza and Jaworzno, all rank higher in terms of average earnings compared to the bustling cities of Wroclaw and Krakow.
The statistics show Wroclaw's average salary as 4,800zl per month (before tax). This is roughly 11% higher than the national average. It is also 30zl per month more than Poznan and about 250zl per month more than Krakow. However the stats show wages in Wroclaw lagging behind Gdansk, where the average monthly salary is almost 5,120zl.
The data also reveals in no uncertain terms whatsoever just how high the salaries in Poland's mining industry are, whether it be for the admin staff or the miners themselves. Naturally, you may well be asking "why is that the case?".
One reason is that Silesia is a key region on the electoral map, and many governments have sought to keep the miners onside so as to stay in office. Thousands are still employed at the mines years after the fall of communism, and they are keen to make their voices heard on the street and via the ballot box. A few years ago staff at several mines took issue with the last Polish Government's reform proposals, which resulted in notable losses for the PO party in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
The staff at the mines are also part of powerful trade unions that are able to negotiate very good terms, including numerous perks and special bonuses. In some instances that means an extra one or two month's wages on top of regular earnings, plus other perks such as free summer holidays.
Of course, working in a mine is not an easy or a pleasant job. That said, it wouldn't be a surprise if a few working class Poles plying their trade in other industries look on at the miners with envy given the 2016 GUS statistics. Do they really deserve much higher pay than other public sector workers? It is certainly a question for debate.
Here are the top 14 earning towns or cities according to the list:
1. Jastrzębie-Zdrój: 6 131.62 PLN – 142.9% of the national average
2. Warsaw: 5 739.61 PLN – 133.8%
3. Jaworzno: 5 314,60 PLN – 123,9%
4. Katowice: 5 274.86 PLN – 122.9%
5. Plock: 5 238,34 zł – 122,1%
6. Gdańsk: 5 118,59 PLN – 119,3%
7. Sopot: 5 104,38 zł – 119,0%
8. Gliwice: 4 832,33 PLN – 112,6%
9. Dąbrowa Górnicza: 4 802,04 PLN – 111,9%
10. Wrocław: PLN 4 800.54 – 111.9%
11. Gdynia: PLN 4 798.54 – 111.8%
12. Poznań: 4 770.94 – 111.2%
13. Cracow: PLN 4,635.26 – 108.0%
14. Szczecin: 4 539.15 – 105.8%