INTRODUCTION: The Governor and Deputy Governors of the striking Polish province of Bielsco Biala offered their resignations on Tuesday (3 February) night in the face of an eight-day strike by workers demanding the dismissal of five top local officials.
SV and CU Solidarity leader Lech Walesa signing autographs in Rzeszow province of Bielsco Biala (3 shots)
GV People in streets
CU Strike sign
SV Walesa arriving for meeting with strikers
SCU Mr. Walesa embracing female striker
Walesa shaking hands with members of government commission arriving for talks
SCU PULL BACK TO SV Government Commission seated
SV Walesa taking seat among other union leaders
LV Meeting in progress CU PULL BACK TO GV Walesa conferring with colleague (2 shots)
SV Government official speaking at meeting as strikers listen (2 shots)
Official continuing to speak
GV and CU Audience listening to officials (3 shots)
SCU Farmer speaking as audience applauds (2 shots)
SV, CU AND GV Another farmer speaking, audience applauding (3 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The Governor and Deputy Governors of the striking Polish province of Bielsco Biala offered their resignations on Tuesday (3 February) night in the face of an eight-day strike by workers demanding the dismissal of five top local officials. The resignations were announced on state television as talks continued between a government delegation and strikers in the province. But it was not immediately clear whether the resignations had been accepted in Warsaw, where Communist party leader Stanislaw Kania accused the free trade union Solidarity of trying to transform itself into a political opposition party.
SYNOPSIS: Solidarity leader Leach Walesa began the week with what seemed like a minor triumph - an agreement on Saturday working, more access to the media and the adulation of at least some of the workers. It should have meant the end of the strikers and a breathing space for the whole country. But the country took one step forward and one step back.
In the south, two general strikers went ahead regardless. And Mr. Walesa arrived to face yet another set of demands, this time calling for reforms and the dismissal of local party officials.
The pressure paid off.. On Tuesday night a number of them offered to resign. The government commission that came to negotiate is one of a number of dispatched to various parts of the country, to try to dampen down the unrest.
This commission, led by a Deputy Agriculture Minister, is meeting with Mr. Walesa and leaders of the self-proclaimed rural Solidarity union at their strike headquarters in Rzeszow in south-eastern Poland. But Mr. Kania's latest remarks indicate the government is planning to dig its heel in or at least effect a compromise.
A government spokesman said on Monday (2 February) there was no need for a separate socio-economic organisation in the countryside.
But the farmers, who have staged a month-long strike have received support for their demands for a free trade union, by striking Solidarity workers.
Solidarity has made it clear it is putting the government to the test. Any failure now in granting the farmers their union could result in a general strike.