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43 years since the signing of the historic agreement

The third of September marks an anniversary of the signing of the Jastrzębie Agreement, concluded between the workers and the communist government, ending the wave of strikes of the summer of 1980. The anniversary ceremony in Jastrzębie-Zdrój was attended by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

photos: Dawid Lach

The festivities began with a mass at the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of the Church in Jastrzębie-Zdrój. Afterwards, a tribute was paid to the participants of those events in front of the Jastrzębie Agreement Monument. Flowers were laid, among others, by representatives of the Solidarity Trade Union and the management board of Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa, as well as the Prime Minister, ministers, MPs, local government officials and mine directors.

- From this place I would like to thank especially the miners from Jastrzębie-Zdrój who are still alive among us and those who have passed away, because it was your courage and your will to fight that led to the possibility of the creation of Solidarność. These days we remember the August Agreements, Gdańsk, Szczecin, but we don't talk enough about Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Katowice and all the mines that stood up and led to a great breakthrough, led to one of the largest social movements in the history of the world - said Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland.

In the summer of 1980, striking miners from what was then the “Manifest Lipcowy” mine (today's “Zofiówka” Section) – added their own postulates to the 21 demands from Gdańsk and Szczecin. According to historians, the mass strikes in Upper Silesia, which resulted in the arrangements made in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, affected the pace and effectiveness of the negotiations held in Gdańsk and Szczecin. The signing of the Jastrzębie Agreement sealed the earlier agreements signed by strikers on the Coast.

- The foundation of the August-September Agreements was the most important postulate - the establishment of an independent labor representation that would look after the interests of workers, mines, steel mills and thousands of plants in our country. That was the dream in 1980 for someone to represent them, to take care of working conditions, occupational health and safety, but above all, to treat workers in an empowering manner. This was the will of hundreds of thousands of strikers at nearly 700 plants all across Poland. This was a force the communists had to reckon with - recalled Piotr Duda, chairman of the NSZZ Solidarność Trade Union.

It was the miners protesting in Jastrzębie-Zdrój who successfully negotiated, among other things, free Saturdays and Sundays, as well as the abolition of the four-shift work system in the mines and raising wages in line with the rising cost of living. In 1980, the miners of Jastrzębie-Zdrój showed great courage and determination in their fight against the communist authorities. Today, the events of 43 years ago are recalled by the Jastrzębie Agreement monument located in front of the Zofiówka Section.



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