Hundreds of police carrying clubs ringed the strikebound Lenin shipyard Friday, and workers inside said they expected an assault. Workers at a huge southern steel mill said a raid by riot troops had not ended their strike.
The Roman Catholic Church criticized the police raid at Nowa Huta steel plant outside Krakow and said authorities apparently was planning similar action against the shipyard workers.The the government moved in draft legislation to punish organizers of strikes and any forms of protest with up to one year's imprisonment. The draft also suspends the already limited right to strike by officially recognized trade unions.
The Nowa Huta strike began April 26 after a successful one-day stoppage by transit workers in the northwestern city of Bydgoszcz touched off Poland's worst wave of labor unrest since the 1981 military crackdown on the independent Solidarity union federation.
The state-run radio said Friday work had resumed, but workers said the strike was still on.
The church statement, issued in Warsaw, came as three church-appointed mediators told reporters they felt betrayed by the police attack Thursday because an agreement had been within reach to end the 10-day strike.
State-run media reports said the Gdansk shipyard's director warned strikers in a message broadcast over loudspeakers during the night to leave or he would resort to "other means."
A Pole who spent the night in the yard said about 2,000 strikers were inside and "it's very tense. You can see they are all under great stress."
The workers began to worry about their low food supplies, with supporters outside no longer allowed to bring gifts of bread.
"It seems they are going to use a different scenario than in Nowa Huta," said senior Polish dissident Adam Michnik. "They probably want to take the shipyard by hunger."
During the night, police convoys periodically moved about this Baltic port in a show of force.