INTRODUCTION: The leaders of Poland's Solidarity Free Trade union have voted (Tuesday, March 31), call off a general strike planned for today.
SV & PULL IN INTERIOR Solidarity Union leader Lech Walesa talks in Polish (3 shots)
(MUTE) GV EXTERIOR Quai d'Orsay, France (2 shots)
(MUTE) SV EXTERIOR Mr. Jagielski on right talks to M. Poncet
(MUTE) SCU Jagielski PAN TO Poncet and interpreter
GV EXTERIOR French flag on Elysee
(SOUND - French) SCU Jagielski
SV EXTERIOR Reporters surround car PAN as it drives away
PART EUROVISION TELERECORDING
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The leaders of Poland's Solidarity Free Trade union have voted (Tuesday, March 31), call off a general strike planned for today. Meeting in the Lenin shipyard in the Baltic port of Gdansk the Union's National Consultative commission endorsed by 25 votes to four, with six abstentions, an agreement reached last night between the government and union negotiators. The strike, would have been unprecedented in Eastern Europe, had been planned principally over alleged police brutality against union members in the city of Bydgoszcz. At the same time the Polish government has pleading with Western governments for food and financial aid.
SYNOPSIS: The agreement between the government and the union came after seven hours of talks, just one hour before the deadline set by the union. Afterwards Solidarity's leader Lech Walesa said he was 70 per cent satisfied. The government agreed to try those responsible for the brutality in Bydgoszcz, to withdraw special police units from the city and to study claims by farmers for special union rights.
Mr. Walesa, who fought hard to avert the strike, was quoted as saying that some sections of the union might not think the agreement went far enough but that he was determined to win executive approval.
As the nation pulled back from the brink of industrial turmoil the deputy Prime minister of Poland, Mieczyslaw Jagielski, was in Paris pleading for vital food supplies and financial relief.
Mr. Jagielski's first call was on France's Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Jean Francois Poncet. So severe is the situation in Poland that the next fortnight could be crucial. Its needs include butter, meat, milk powder, animal feed, barley and sugar.
Next the Elysee Palace to see the French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing. Mr. Jagielski emerged with hope for the future. As well as immediate supplies of food, France promised Poland longer term economic and financial help to ease the strains on its resources. France will also use its influence with creditor countries to reschedule Polish debts, estimated at 25 billion dollars.
France already is a major contributor of aid to Poland, having donated some 800-million dollars in differing credits and food aid in each of the past two years. The Polish Deputy Prime Minister was on his way to Washington for more talks.