Like many companies in central Europe, Amica has been struggling to find workers. So in 2018, the Polish manufacturer of household appliances took an unorthodox decision: to help staff up a new factory near Wronki in western Poland, it struck a deal with a local prison to employ between 100 and 200 inmates. 

The arrangement is part of a government plan set up in 2016 to help rehabilitate prisoners. But it is also a sign of the strains being felt by central European companies as booming order books and the legacy of a wave of emigration in the 2000s drive unemployment to record lows, and labour shortages begin to bite.

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