A large delegation of Poland's free trade union leaders met with Prime Minister Josef Pinkowski and government negotiators on Friday (31 October) to try to iron out differences over the rights of the newly- registered union "Solidarity".
GV ZOOM INTO Polish Prime Minister Josef Pinkowski entering conference room
SCU PAN Polish Union Leader Lech Walesa arriving with his delegation
CU Mr. Pinkowski and government delegation seated at table
CU Mr. Walesa and union members seated opposite government officials (2 shots)
GV Conference in progress
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Background: A large delegation of Poland's free trade union leaders met with Prime Minister Josef Pinkowski and government negotiators on Friday (31 October) to try to iron out differences over the rights of the newly- registered union "Solidarity". Reports said some progress was being achieved on the questions of the authority of the Communist Party written into the union statutes, and the union's access to mass media.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Pinkowski arrived at the meeting fresh from a quick trip to Moscow for talks with President Leonid Brezhnev and other Kremlin leaders.
The union delegation was headed by Lech Walesa, the popular hero who led the crippling Gdansk strike which won workers the right to free trade unions. The main bone of contention between the two sides is the government's demand for the supremacy of the Communist Party in the union statutes. The statutes were unilaterally changed by a Warsaw district court judge last week. A solidarity spokesman came out of the meeting to tell newsmen that the statutes would be edited to make them acceptable to the workers. He said that the Supreme Court would pass a ruling on the issue by November the 8th, but could give no details. Solidarity have threatened to call a national strike on November the 12th unless the government accepts their demands. They say their union is a non-political labour movement, and cannot accept an alliance with the Communist party. These talks also touched on other union demands that include a role in deciding how wage rises are allotted, better market supplies, meat rationing and the right to use he mass media. The Solidarity spokesman said the authorities had "basically" agreed to permit a weekly union newspaper, and to release the printing equipment, sent by western trade unions, which has been held by customs police for several weeks. The union spokesman said the talks were tough and indicated that, if no acceptable formula could be found, there was always the threat of a strike.