Striking Polish workers win major concessions
Vienna — Polish workers and reformers have won a significant first victory. With no sign yet of a halt in the countrywide strike wave, the Communist Partly leadership has made notable concessions to the long-pent-up grievances of its industrial working class.
An official announcement from a fullfledged session of the party Central Committee Aug. 12:
* Conceded the justice of the workers' wage demands and any other grievances about conditions.
* Admitted regime failures in labor relations and the need for better and fairer planning and management.
Promised the workers intensive consultation on all questions and a bigger voice in labor-management relations in their individual enterprises.
At a foreign press briefing, a Politburo spokesman sought to "de-politicize" the labor unrest that has snowballed across Poland since early July. He also brushed aside any suggestion that in trying to improve its present planning and management system the regime would make any "political" or fundamental shifts, for example, toward a more "market-minded" economy.
The Central Committee's statement, however, clearly reflected its deep political concern over this summer's events. It also admitted the validity of most of the workers' complaints, including the breakdown of the close consultation and partnership promised them when Edward Gierek came to power amid the violent strikes and riots at the end of 1970.
The Central Committee resolution ordered party organization throughout Poland to begin an "immediate" review of socioeconomic conditions and "the most vital problems" of the workers in all enterprises and public services.
It called for a "tightening up of the bond between the party and the working class" and for open, "frank discussion of all tensions arising over pay, working conditions, and human relations."
This is precisely what the "liberal" wing within the party itself, as well as reformers outside, have been saying for many years as Poland boiled up unmistakably toward its present domestic crisis.