In January of this year, Girteka opened the largest Transport Base in Poznan, Poland. The maintenance service in the base already employs more than 300 people and has a service capacity of 400-500 units (trucks and trailers) per week. Key skills and knowledge being looked for there are maintenance and service workers as well as drivers. A couple from Belarus, explain how they are living and working in Girteka, and why they decided to move here and start from the beginning.
The situation in Belarus today is quite complicated. Many habitants have emigrated in search of a new place, and new work. In 2020 it was more than 60.000 Belarusian emigrated to EU countries. Part of them was emigrating to Poland, where they could find a job, assimilate easier than in western Europe and find a decent job.
This was in fact the case of Galina and Aleksandr Yurczyk, who joined Girteka in Poznań. Alexander came to Poznan in February 2022 and Galina joined the company in July. Galina is the first woman sander and, as the shift master says, she has already proved herself to be an excellent specialist. Galina had worked as a sander in her hometown for 15 years, and Alexander also had experience in this field.
Interview with Galina and Aleksandr Yurczyk
Why did you choose to work in Girteka? What surprised you when you started working for the company?
Galina: I would not be mistaken to say that everyone in East Europe has heard the name Girteka. Some people have relatives or friends working here, and others have just seen trucks with Girteka‘s logo on the road. A few years ago, our friends told us that Girteka had a fleet of a couple of thousand vehicles. Last year, we found out that the company has already got around 10,000 trucks! Such growth is impressive. We thought that if people choose to work in Girteka, there must be something that attracts them.
However, getting a job in Girteka didn’t seem realistic to us. We were used to being always together and we did not want to be apart for a long time, so we did not even consider the option of Alexander‘s employment as a truck driver. At the beginning of 2022, my husband saw an advertisement for a sander at Girteka transport base in Poznan and we thought it must be our chance (they smile).
Aleksandr: We were very impressed by the employer’s approach to the staff. Girteka officer Stanislav helped us with every step from paperwork to placement in Poznan, and when Galina arrived, she was assigned to the same shift I work in. So we work together. We even have our workplaces next to each other. Everything is just as we wished it to be.
Girteka is an international company with over 23,000 employees of 21 nationalities. What is it like to be part of such a big company?
Aleksandr: It’s a pleasure to be part of such a big, well-known company. When people ask me where I work, I am proud to say that I work at Girteka, and no one ever asks what kind of company it is, as everyone knows it.
What is a well-done job for you?
Aleksandr: A job that is done in good conscience, as if we had done it for ourselves.
What have you learned while working at Girteka? Do you keep on learning and improving at work?
Galina: I have been working as a sander for 16 years and I still keep on learning new things at Girteka. At the base, we have a lot of equipment that I have not worked with before, and that I am learning now. Learning is necessary because new skills help you to work more efficiently, and eliminate manual, time-consuming work. Working with a new tool and working without it can be compared to driving a car versus walking on foot. You can also walk, but the journey will take more time and exhaust you physically. So learning is definitely a must.
What is your professional dream?
Galina: To go “one step up”, to improve skills and professional knowledge, to become an expert in my field.
Please tell us more about your day-to-day work. What does your working day look like?
Galina: The daily schedule is quite simple. First, the demolition team removes the external parts of the car, then our master assigns a certain amount of them to each of us to prepare them for further painting. We sand the parts and also prime them. We have a fixed time for each part we prepare.
Aleksandr: We work in shifts: 3 days x 12 hours with breaks, and 3 days off. For us it’s comfortable, so we have a lot of time for ourselves and our hobbies. By the way, we also have a common hobby – fishing. As soon as we have free time we try to go to a river or a lake. Galina enjoys winter fishing. Her biggest catch is a 15 kg bream.
What challenges do you face in your work? And how do you overcome them?
Galina: Not all kinds of physical work can be done by a woman. For example, I can’t polish cars because I can’t hold a polishing machine up for a long time. Therefore, our master tries to give me work that does not require physical effort but demands a lot of patience and attention to detail. Women handle small details more carefully. I think we (women) have more patience than men.
What do you like most in Girteka and in your work?
Galina: First of all, it’s the management’s good approach to employees, and secondly, there is no language barrier. At our transport base, it is possible to speak any language. Our team is very friendly. Colleagues help in word and deed. We do not work together, each of us does his/her tasks individually. But we ask each other for advice if we have any doubts about how to do a particular task. Colleagues are glad to help. There are no problems with communication within our team.
Aleksandr: Working at Girteka, we have a sense of stability and confidence for the future. We know for sure that here we will always have a job, we will always have income.
Biggest truck base
Girteka base in Sady, close to Poznań, is one of the biggest in Europe, where trucks can be maintained and prepared for deliveries. On 10,5ha it has a place for 80 trucks inside, and more than 200, with being finished parking place. Girteka is actively recruiting in Poland to achieve the ambitious goal to have more than 8,000 drivers at the base by the end of the year 2022. No less important, the company is hiring transport technicians of various experience and expertise planning to have the base equipped with at least 450 such people, including various administrative staff, finance specialists, and maintenance and service employees.
“In Poznań, we are hiring many nationalities. We seek people who are looking for a good job and are experienced specialists or those, who want to combine education with work. Despite their nationality, religion, or gender, we are welcoming everybody who wants to join the largest asset-based logistics company with a multinational culture and multilanguage working conditions. And yet we are offering potential to grow inside our company,” summarizes Anna Ligarzewska, Head of HR Transport Division Poznań, Girteka.
Girteka base is now looking for financial and payroll specialists, driving teachers, truck tires service specialists, tinsmiths, varnishers, and mechanics. All vacancies are offered with a 1-year contract of employment, with a salary premium system and support in terms of work permits. Also, all employees can use free of charge work transport.