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Polish Strike Efforts Fail at 2 Shipyards : Walesa to Wait Until Spring Before New Solidarity Offensive

From Times Wire Services

Strike attempts by radical young workers at two Gdansk shipyards collapsed today, and Lech Walesa said he will wait until next spring to launch a new Solidarity offensive against Poland’s Communist rulers.

About 100 youths straggled out of the Wisla Shipyard and the Repair Shipyard only 24 hours after they launched defiant strikes Tuesday when Solidarity leader Walesa backed off from calling nationwide anti-government strikes.

“Carrying on would have been like fighting tanks,” strike leader Wojciech Buczynski said as he led a band of 70 disappointed strikers from the Repair yard--the last of 500 young workers who started the protest Tuesday.

“We counted on others joining us but no one did,” said an 18-year-old worker pulling down Solidarity flags from the yard gate and rolling them up.

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Overnight Picketing

Earlier, about 30 workers emerged from the Wisla yard after picketing the gates in an overnight protest.

They were demanding re-legalization of Solidarity and cancellation of a government decision to close the giant Lenin Shipyard--cradle of Solidarity and a major symbol of opposition to Communist rule.

Walesa told a news conference after the protests collapsed that Solidarity would fight the Lenin yard’s closure, which the government calls final and irrevocable and a first step toward streamlining Polish industry.

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“If there are no solutions by the spring we will launch a major offensive,” Walesa said. “We will fight for the shipyard and we will get it back sooner or later.”

‘We Have Two Years’

Walesa, after meeting with the Lenin Shipyard management Tuesday, indicated that he will not insist on an immediate reversal of the closure plan before talks open with the government. He said he was told at the meeting that it could take two years or more to close the yard.

“At first we had one month. Now we have two years,” said Walesa, an electrician at the yard and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize.

Walesa said the strike attempts showed that restless young workers could run out of the Solidarity leadership’s control if the government failed to meet their grievances quickly.

“If we don’t solve urgent problems we are in danger of losing control, and this is the first proof that we are pressed by time,” he said.

“The authorities should start trying to find some solutions for these youths.”


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