INTRODUCTION: The Polish Government and the country's free trade unions reached an eleventh-hour agreement on Monday (30 March) ending weeks of crisis which threatened to climax in a general strike throughout the nation on Tuesday.
GV Church in Nowa-Huta, Mass being held (2 shots)
GV EXT. St. Salwator Church
SV INT. Cardinal Macharski celebrating Mass
SV Congregation singing
Walesa and Commission officials enter meeting place (2 shots)
SV Deputy Premier Rakowski entering for meeting
GV Government and Union talks (2 shots)
GV Meeting in progress
SV Union official making statement (Polish speech)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Polish Government and the country's free trade unions reached an eleventh-hour agreement on Monday (30 March) ending weeks of crisis which threatened to climax in a general strike throughout the nation on Tuesday. The Government agreed to meet nearly three-quarters of the demands of the national executive of the union movement, Solidarity. The decision to call off the indefinite strike was expected to be endorsed by Solidarity's National Consultative commission.
SYNOPSIS: The agreement came after days of intense meetings and talks both within and between Government and union circles. Special prayers were offered for the country in all Polish Churches on Sunday.
Churchgoers sang a patriotic hymn which begins "Save us from pestilence, starvation, fire and war". They were bound by a common concern for the preservation of peace and the restoration of stability in the country.
A message to all Polish people from Polish-born Pope Paul was also read from the pulpits.
In his message, the Pope said Poland should solve its own problems. He said he had heard that the majority of the Polish people wanted to work, not strike.
The agreement between Government and unions came in a last-minute round of talks only hours before the national strike was due to begin. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa led the union delegates into the meeting while the Government team was headed by Deputy Prime Minister Mieczyslaw Rakowski. Time was running out for any chance of a reconciliation. The agreement was reached just one hour before the deadline which had earlier been extended until 8 o'clock in the evening.
In a joint statement issued after the talks, it was said that the Polish authorities had agreed to put on trial and punish those responsible for an incident in the city of Bydgoszcz which prompted the crisis. The Government will also pay in full the millions of Polish workers who went on strike for four hours on Friday in support of Solidarity's demands. Solidarity leaders promised in turn to stop protests which caused tension and conceded that police intervention in the Bydgoszcz incident was in part justified by extreme tension in the city.