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Poland's trade unions to coordinate anti-government protests

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 20.05.2013 16:32
Pressure on the government is set to increase as leaders of Poland's three largest trade unions meet to coordinate protest action.
OPZZ's Jan Guz (right) with Solidarity leader Piotr Duda (C) and Trade Union Forum's Tadeusz Chwałek on Monday: photo - PAP/Adam Warszawa

Piotr Duda, Jan Guz and Tadeusz Chwałek, leaders of the Solidarity, OPZZ and the Trade Unions Forum respectively, met Monday to consider widespread strike action in the autumn in protest over government plans to increase flexible working hours and cut overtime payments.

“Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government has one undoubted success it can be proud of: uniting the three trade unions,” Piotr Duda said, adding that government policies such as raising the retirement age in Poland will lead to the fall of the ruling coalition.

The trade unions also want a hike in Poland's minimum wage.

The threat of a 'general strike' follows widespread 'warning' strike action in the Silesian province, led by the Solidarity trade union in March, which paralysed much of the transport network for two hours.

The threat of more strike actions comes as support for PM Tusk's Civic Platform is falling in the country, according to opinion polls.

The plan by Solidarity and OPZZ to coordinate protest action is historic, as OPZZ was the trade union allowed to operate during the communist era, whereas Solidarity became the first fully independent trade union in the eastern bloc in 1980.

Poland's trade union membership is currently estimated, however, at just 10 percent of the workforce. (pg)

source: PAP

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