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Strikes Continue at Coal Mines With AM-Poland, Bjt

January 18, 1990

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Thousands of coal miners continued their strikes for a third day Thursday at five mines in southern Poland, demanding higher pay and reforms in the industry, the official PAP news agency reported.

The strikes are the first significant labor protest since the Jan. 1 implementation of radical economic reforms that have sharply raised prices but checked wage increases while trying to create a market-oriented economy and curb inflation.

About 6,000 workers went on strike Tuesday at the Czerwone Zaglebie mine and another 40 at the Niwka Modrzejow mine, both in the city of Sosnowiec outside Katowice, a major industrial center about 185 miles south of Warsaw.

Strikes also continued at Thorez, Walbrzych and Victoria, three mines in Walbrzych, a city 12 miles from the Czechoslovak border, PAP said.

The agency reported the strike committee ″sharpened discipline″ when some of the 130 miners began to leave the occupation strike at the Thorez mine.

″To prevent this, the miners have been practically barred from entering or leaving the mine and resuming coal mining,″ PAP reported without elaboration.

The miners at the Czerwone Zaglebie mine are demanding a $26 supplement to their wages for December. The miners in Walbrzych have similar demands for higher pay, PAP said.

All the striking miners are calling for retention of special shopping privileges for miners, a reduction in administrative workers in offices and no repercussions against strikers.

The negotiations resulted in the April 17 legalization of Solidarity after a seven-year ban and free elections in June. Solidarity’s overwhelming victory led to formation of the East bloc’s first non-Communist government.

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