Communist Party leaders meeting in emergency session Friday proposed talks with various groups to defuse Poland's labor strife, and a Solidarity official later said the government offered to "discuss" revival of the banned union if workers at a Gdansk shipyard end their strike.
Also Friday, Poland's Roman Catholic Church issued a statement saying human rights violations by the government were to blame for the worst wave of strikes in seven years.After the ruling party session, Interior Minister Czeslaw Kiszczak released a statement offering to arrange "round table talks" between the government and "representatives of various milieux, both working class and social" on Poland's crisis.
The offer appeared to exclude Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, who said earlier at the strike-bound Lenin Shipyard in the Baltic port of Gdansk that he was ready for talks with the government "without preconditions."
Walesa, however, demanded that revival of the outlawed union be on the agenda.
The government had appeared unlikely to accept that topic as a subject for dialogue, but Solidarity spokesman Lech Koszak said in a telephone interview from Gdansk early Saturday that authorities seemed to soften their position.
The reinstatement of Solidarity - outlawed under martial law in 1982 - is the No. 1 demand of workers at every enterprise and coal mine struck since Aug. 16 in the worst wave of labor unrest in Poland in seven years.
Authorities also approached strike leaders in the Lenin Shipyard, the birthplace of Solidarity, and in the adjacent Northern Shipyard, but did not offer to discuss the banned union, Koszak said.
Koszak indicated the difference in offers may have been an attempt to introduce confusion among the shipyard workers.