INTRODUCTION: Poland's private farmers received recognition of their independent trade union on Tuesday (12 May) when the Warsaw Provincial Court formally registered the Rural Solidarity Union.
GV Farmers with banners outside (3 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT inside courtroom, people holding banners
SV Judge reading out provisions of statute
SV Farmers Solidarity representatives PAN TO judge
GV Crowd in courtroom
SV Solidarity representative speaking
SV PAN Farmers Solidarity representative ZOOM OUT TO courtroom
GV ZOOM OUT Judge continues making statement
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Poland's private farmers received recognition of their independent trade union on Tuesday (12 May) when the Warsaw Provincial Court formally registered the Rural Solidarity Union. The recognition grants the union's 2.5 million members the same labour rights as industrial workers.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of farmers stood outside the courthouse in Warsaw, waiting to celebrated the victory which came at the end of an eighty-month struggle for recognition. They had faced down adamant opposition from the government and with the support of the Catholic Church, won the rights to form an independent rural trade union.
Presiding Judge Zdzizlaw Koscielniak, who had turned down an earlier request for registration, said in announcing the court's ruling that "from this moment, the farmers' trade union will be able to undertake the defence of private farmers' interests in the full majesty of the law".
The courtroom was packed as Rural Solidarity's lawyers put their case for recognition, although legislation passed by Parliament last week made approval a foregone conclusion.
The Union representatives assured the court that their Rural Solidarity had no political ambitions and that it recognised the supremacy of the Communist Party.
Opponents of the union had earlier argued that private farmers were employers and not employees and that creation of the Rural Solidarity would cause chaos and political anarchy. The judge, however, said the Polish people hoped the union would use its power to increase desperately short food production.