Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/546/6355

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2008

Poland: Biggest workers' demo since the 1990s

WARSAW CAME to a standstill for many hours as over 50,000 workers demonstrated in torrential rain last Friday (29 August).

Paul Newbery, GPR (CWI, Poland)

The demo was organised by Solidarity under the slogan "Decent work, decent life". It was also demanding an increase in the minimum wage and was against government plans to change the labour code and abolish the right to early retirement for many workers.

Rising food and energy costs are forcing thousands of workers into struggle for wage rises. Since unemployment has fallen in recent years, there is a new confidence and combativity among workers.

On the other hand, the Civic Platform government is planning a series of neo-liberal reforms and attacks on workers' rights, including the right for bosses to organise a lockout. These are the ingredients for a sharpening of the class struggle in Poland in the next period. The sheer size of Friday's demonstration is a reflection of this and shows that the Solidarity leadership had been forced into organising the demo by the mood from below.

Miners, steel workers and shipyard workers were well represented as usual, but there were also a lot of workers from private enterprises and younger workers, particularly women workers in their 20s and 30s, who made up 50% of some of the delegations. In the recent period Solidarity has recruited a lot of new workers in the private sector. This is a new, fresh layer which in many cases is entering into struggle for the first time.

However, some of the banners illustrate the contradictory mood among the workers. The banner of Stalowa Wola Steelworks read "Don't touch the Labour Code or Poles will touch you". Unfortunately a lot of Solidarity members identify themselves as Poles but not as workers because of the nationalist poison fed to them for many years.

On the demo the Solidarity leadership offered no lead. When the demonstrators reached the end of the route there was no rally - the delegations were just told to turn around and go home. In the Solidarity paper given out on the demo, the head of the Solidarity's Gdansk region even said they were fighting for the quicker privatisation of the three shipyards which are going bankrupt!

The Group for a Workers' Party (GPR - CWI, Poland) intervened in the demo. We were generally well received. We gave out 1,000 leaflets calling for a general strike. It wasn't enough - they disappeared within 15 minutes! We also sold 114 copies of our paper which had the headline: "Defend the Labour Code - for a one day general strike".

The same day, Jan Guz, leader of the OPZZ trade union federation spoke of the need to negotiate a compromise with the government, but warned that if a compromise solution can't be reached, the different paths of all the unions will meet up in a general strike.

The union bureaucracy is clearly feeling the pressure building up from below. With a number of strikes and demos planned for September and October, Poland faces a hot autumn.

For background, see article by Wojtek Orowiecki 'Strikes continue against rocketing food and fuel costs' on www.socialistworld.net

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 2 September 2008:

'Them and us' economy hits the rocks

Inequality - the world's deadliest disease!


Socialist Party editorial

Russia / Georgia war exposes limits of West


Socialist Party workplace news

Trades Union Congress: Building a real leadership against the bosses

John Mc Donnell MP protests at Unison witch-hunt

London buses: Strikers pack picket lines

Fight threat to Ford Transit plant jobs

Coastguards strike over bank holiday in pay protest


Socialist Party feature

Building a new workers' party: trade unionist initiative needed

Building industrial militancy


International socialist news and analysis

Poland: Biggest workers' demo since the 1990s


Socialist Party campaigns

Terry Fields memorial meeting

Arrested for selling The Socialist

Opposing the far right

Winners and losers at the Beijing Olympics

Water quality threat to health

Adding colour to The Socialist


Socialist Students

School and college students fighting back!


Socialist Party review

Inside Egypt: the land of the Pharaohs on the brink of a revolution


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Save our casualty unit!

NHS 'surplus' = cuts in care

Swollen profits, suffering patients


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 September 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Poland:

trianglePoland: thousands mourn death of murdered mayor

trianglePoland: huge demos against right wing government's abortion ban

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Political turmoil in Poland

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Solidarity:

triangleNottingham uni occupation ends

triangleStudent occupation in support of striking workers

triangleDefend the right to strike! Southampton solidarity meeting

triangleSolidarity with striking university staff

International

International

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

8/4/20

CWI

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

8/4/20

Amazon

Amazon workers threaten revolution!

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

18/3/20

Coronavirus

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

11/3/20

US

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?

11/3/20

Italy

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999