INTRODUCTION: Poland is facing its first major outbreak of industrial unrest for three months.
GV ZOOM IN Dock gates, CU Strike notices
SV Workers at gates, strike banner (3 shots)
GV PAN Idle ships TO containers stacked up (2 shots)
GV ZOOM IN Dock workers holding meeting
GV Goods piled up PAN TO idle cranes ZOOM INTO idle rail wagons (2 shots)
SV Dock workers leaving building
GV Idle cranes and ships (2 shots)
GV Mass meeting on dockside, SCU official speaking (2 shots)
CU PAN Dock workers listening
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Poland is facing its first major outbreak of industrial unrest for three months. Employees of the state airline Lot announced that a threatened four-hour strike would go ahead as planned on Thursday (9 July) unless the government changed its mind. That decision came after work was halted for one hour in Poland's ports on Wednesday (8 July).
SYNOPSIS: Some 46,000 dock workers joined the strike at ports all along the Baltic coast, including Gdansk. The strike here was called after talks between the government and dockers' representatives ended without agreement early in the morning. Work was held up on nearly 60 ships in the stoppage, in protest at what the dockers described as the government's failure to honour a previous agreement. The strikers said the government had pledged to grant a port workers' charter on conditions and rights by July. But after the night's talks broke down the official Polish news agency said the government could not grant more rights to dockers than to workers in other sectors.
Workers in Gdansk and elsewhere saw this as a betrayal of a promise made last March. The scene in the neighbouring port of Gdynia was much the same as cranes and ships stood idle. Workers there crowded into a meeting to hear a strike official condemn the government and reiterate the dockers' demands for better pensions and benefits. The strikers later set a one-week deadline for those demands to be met.
The deadline was issued in a strike committee communique, which threatened a general strike in all Polish seaports if it were not met. Official Polish sources have expressed concern at the latest outbreak of unrest, coming as it does just a few days before the opening of the Polish Communist party Congress.