Solidarity Leaders Urge Workers to Avoid Strikes
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Solidarity leaders urged members of the independent union Saturday to resist pressures to strike, and accused the country’s official unions of fomenting work stoppages.
Solidarity, which has used strikes in the past to advance its demands, has taken the new tack since reaching an agreement with the government in April to take part in the political process as a legal organization.
Its leader, Lech Walesa, stopped short of telling copper miners to end a six-day strike last week. However, he said the country faced more pressing problems than pay demands and that economic stability is needed for reforms to take root.
Solidarity’s National Executive Commission articulated the union’s current position on strikes Saturday, saying, ″The use of strike pressure for this purpose (higher pay) only makes the situation worse. It creates political tensions, leads to increasing inflation, depreciates the currency.″
It said union members should instead concentrate on making Solidarity stronger.
″Organizing our union is now the most important task of all structures and activists of Solidairty,″ it said. ″Only as a strong and well-organized union will Solidarity be able to effectively influence reforms.″
The declaration was made at a commission meeting chaired by Walesa in the Baltic port of Gdansk.
Hundreds of strikes over pay have occurred this year. Most of the work stoppages have been isolated and have ended quickly.
But the 15,000 copper miners idled four mines for six days until management agreed last Thursday to grant pay increases of 30 percent and a 30 percent bonus.
The Solidarity leadership also charged the official trade union alliance, known as OPZZ, of trying to provoke strikes.
″In many regions and branches, our union is provoked to strike and a special role is played here by OPZZ activists, who try to make impossible the agreements of the roundtable,″ it said.
The ″roundtable″ is a reference to the broad-based talks leading to the pact between the government and the Solidarity-led opposition on April 5.