Gdansk Strikes End; Walesa to Delay Offensive

From Reuters

Strikes by radical young workers at two Gdansk shipyards collapsed Wednesday, and Lech Walesa said he will wait at least until next spring before launching a new Solidarity offensive against Poland’s Communist rulers.

About 100 youths straggled out of the Wisla shipyard and a repair yard only 24 hours after they launched defiant strike bids 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 on Tuesday.

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


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

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

“If there are no solutions by the spring, we will launch a major offensive,” Walesa said. 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.

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


Walesa doused the strikes after the government invited him to talks on Poland’s future, promising to consider re-legalizing Solidarity, but neither the talks nor the promise has materialized.

Solidarity and the government are locked in disputes about conditions for the proposed round-table talks, which originally were scheduled to start Oct. 17.