Gdansk – 9

Demand number 1 was the authorities should accept that Trade Unions such as Solidarity be independent. Number 2 was the guarantee of the right to strike. On the third day of the strike, on August 16, 1980, management granted Lenin Shipyard workers their working and pay demands. Lech Wałęsa and others announced the end of the strike. Two women at the shipyard, Anna Walentynowicz and Alina Pienkowska, managed to close the gates of the shipyard and keep some workers inside. 

Wałęsa was stopped near the Gate 1 as he was leaving, and was persuaded to return to the shipyard. Over the next few days, he led the negotiations on the workers’ side whilst Mieczysław Jagielski was the main negotiator for the government. The Gdańsk Agreement was signed on 31st August 1980, recognizing the right to organize free trade unions independent of the Party for the first time in the Communist bloc. When the Solidarity trade union was registered shortly after the Gdańsk Agreement, it had nearly ten million members, the world’s largest union to date.

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