The authors examine how the Polish steel industry and the life of steelworkers changed after the system change. First, they give an overall picture of downsizing the industry in Poland, its international context (especially between Poland and the EU), and the role of unions in this transformation. Their important conclusion is that governments have applied the so-called passive labour market strategy that is they have not focused on re-employment, re-training but on severance payment, early retirement etc. instead. Second, they examine private life carers by personal interviews. They conclude that the picture "from below" is more complex, although the common experience in general shows that workers in their "survival" can count on themselves, their families and close friends only.