Scientists, educators and other intellectuals Saturday formed communist Hungary's first new trade union in 40 years.
It was not known whether the Democratic Union of Scientific Workers would be independent of the government-approved union structure, said a participant who spoke on condition of anonymity."You certainly cannot compare the (union) with the Polish trade union Solidarity, because it is a non-political organization," he said. Solidarity, the Soviet bloc's first independent union federation, was banned in 1981.
The participant said about 400 people attended the founding session and elected a steering committee.
The meeting was to take place at the Science Faculty of Budapest's Eoetvoes Lorand University, but it had to be shifted to the Metro Club, a cultural club, because the university rector withdrew an earlier permit granted by the dean.
The new union includes representatives of natural, social and technical sciences, higher education and research institutes. Other members include laboratory assistants and unemployed researchers. interests were ignored by the official public employees' union. Spokesmen said it would fight to improve members' working conditions, increase funds for research and reduce layoffs.