Poland's decision day on future of unions is drawing near

Several weeks of intensive government propaganda and growing public uncertainty over the future of Poland's suspended labor unions will come to a head when parliament meets to consider a draft bill about mid-October.

Since the imposition of martial law last December one thing has been certain: In whatever form or to whatever extent the Solidarity union born of the 1980 strikes is ultimately allowed to reemerge, the name that won the support of 10 million Polish workers and worldwide acclaim will not be allowed to reappear.

There has been growing concern in recent weeks that the independent union itself would be delegalized under hard-line pressures within the Communist Party.

But moderate party opinion seems to have had some effect. On Sept. 29 the party's so-called ''workers' press agency'' came out with an unsigned article urging a fresh start for all unions - including ''taking everything valuable and positive'' from Solidarity - and noting that it is Solidarity that still has the support of the majority of working people. The article was distributed through the government's official news agency.

According to an unofficial but informed source close to the party, the draft bill being prepared for parliament will go some way toward allaying fears about the kind of unions the government intends.

This source indicates that the bill envisages:

* The dissolution of all unions - the old branch ones and the autonomous professional unions as well as Solidarity.

* The possibility for workers in every factory, mine, and other industrial-commercial enterprise to form their own internal ''independent, self-governing'' unions.

* The individual unions thus created going by the acronym NSZZ - independent, self-governing trade union - which preceded the name Solidarnosc.

The draft legislation, it is said, would make this binding for three years. Within that period all individual enterprise unions would be registered. Moreover, no central trade union structures would be established before 1984.

This, it is said, would be in accordance with martial law chief Wojciech Jaruzelski's pledge that, just as Solidarity cannot be revived along the lines on which it operated through last year, there will be no return to the centrally controlled, communist rubber-stamp union structure that was in force up to August 1980.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church has warned that there could be major disturbances if the new laws actually dissolve Solidarity. The Polish primate, Archbishop Jozef Glemp, has told a group of visiting US journalists that it is ''very dubious'' that the people would accept such legislation.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.