The Polish ship workers strike has spread to nearly 20 plants along the Baltic Coast.
GV AND TV PAN Crowd outside gates of Gdansk shipyards in Poland with strikers' slogans and women seated at tabled (2 shots)
LV AND CU PAN Crowds at gates (2 shots)
LV AND CU Workers collecting food and drink (2 shots)
GV AND CU PAN Workers lying and seated in park (2 shots)
SV PAN Strikers sitting on side of road leading into shipyard
GV INTERIOR Workers meeting in hall
SV AND CU Women preparing food (3 shots)
GV AND CU Strikers facing platform with leaders seated (2 shots)
GV PAN CU Workers seated in hall with document detailing strikers demands (2 shots)
GV PAN Strikers seated and picketing shipyard
CU PAN Sign "Gdansk stocznia" to strikers on bench
GV Shipyard cranes idle
LV AND GV People at shipyard gates (2 shots)
AVAILABLE ON BETA NX 246
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Polish ship workers strike has spread to nearly 20 plants along the Baltic Coast. Strikers are demanding higher wages, better living conditions and a host of political and social reforms. But so far the Government has not responded to the strikers' calls for direct negotiations, with officials disputing the strike leaders' authority to represent the workers.
SYNOPSIS: Workers at the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk--where the dispute started some eight weeks ago--remain at the focal point of the strike. The pickets are ready for a long and total siege. At least 88 factories in Gdansk have joined the ship workers strike, and along the Baltic Coast some 100 more plants are idle.
The crowds at the shipyard gates in Gdansk appear clam. The strikers have banned alcohol on the picket lines and the atmosphere doesn't suggest any imminent upheaval.
Strikers' wives provide food and drink. Their husbands are on the picket lines night and day, and with the battle-lines so firmly drawn no one anticipates an early end to the dispute.
Lost production is costing the Polish shipbuilding industry an estimated 300,000 dollars (US) a day for each ship under construction. The industry is one of the most successful in the world. The Lenin Shipyard employs 16,000 people and its order books are full until mid-1983.
The strikers have formed a joint factory committee. Delegates from all plants involved in the dispute are represented at the committee meetings. It is through this body the strikers have issued their demands. The Government does not recognise the joint factory committee as negotiating body. It says any negotiations should be conducted through normal trade-union channels. But the strikers want independent representation, rejecting the official Polish union structure. So, on this point, the two sides are in a deadlock.
Communist Party Leader, Edward Gierek, has promised limited union reforms, more worker democracy, wage rises and increased meat imports. But the strikers demands go far beyond those concessions. The joint factories' committee has detailed social reforms which include an earlier retirement age and better social services. Strikers have also called for a wide range of political reforms such as the right to free speech and an end to censorship.
The Polish union structure is closely intertwined with the country's Communist Party. The workers demands for independent union representation thus shakes at the foundations of the Polish state. The strikers have asked the news media publish their demands and have invited a nationwide debate on the Government's economic performance. Mr. Gierek's answer to demands is simple and direct. They are not acceptable.