Communist authorities agreed to let Catholic intellectuals mediate in two major strikes, a Solidarity activist said Wednesday after Lech Walesa warned of "a bloody revolution" if workers don't get a say in reform.
At the huge Lenin shipyard where Solidarity was born in 1980, workers in the third day of an occupation strike backed down from a demand that the outlawed independent labor federation be legalized nationwide.Walesa, a Solidarity founder, said strike leaders decided to limit the demand to Solidarity's shipyard branch because they felt they had a greater chance of success.
"There will be many different strikes around the country, even if they crush the shipyard, we will do it," Walesa told strikers after returning to the shipyard Wednesday. "The only reason the entire country is not on strike is that it is too early."
In Warsaw, Solidarity activist Henryk Wujec said authorities had agreed to permit a mediation role for five independent intellectuals linked with the Roman Catholic Church, to which percent of Poles belong.
He said the five had split into two groups, one leaving for the Lenin steelworks in the Krakow suburb of Nowa Huta, the other for the 12,000-worker shipyard in this Baltic port.
The mood was subdued in Gdansk Wednesday morning. There was no heavy police presence. About 3,000 workers spent the night in the yard, and during the day their numbers rose to 7,000, said strike committee chairman Alojzy Szablewski.
Like the shipyard workers, the 15,000 striking steelworkers in Nowa Huta are demanding higher wages, an independent union, reinstatement of fired union activists and release of political prisoners.