May 1988 strikes in Poland

May 1988 strikes (AKKS 347/21/52)

In 1988 two waves of strikes spread through Poland – in May and August. Stubborn protests of workers who demanded, first of all, to legalize the Solidarity Trade Union, resulted in concessions made by the government, and, finally, in the Round Table Agreement.

Documents published here come from the archival collection of the National Executive Committee of NSZZ “Solidarność”. However, they pertain to May 1988 strikes only. The collection contains e.g. handwritten notes showing the detailed timeline of the strike. They begin at 9.00 am on May 4 and end at 4:30 pm on May 10. This time accuracy is noteworthy – events are timed down to the minute.

Other documents in the collection include e.g.:

  • statements supporting the strike, issued by the Independent Farmers’ “Solidarity Trade Union, Gdańsk Lech Bądkowski Political Club, students of the University of Gdańsk, Academic Youth, “Polityka Polska” community;
  • agreement between the shipyard’s representatives with representatives of workers on strike, accompanied by statements of the Gdańsk Voivodeship Attorney and the Gdańsk Shipyard Executive Director, in which they make a commitment that all of those on strike will be released from any criminal or administrative liability after the strike is over and the Gdańsk Shipyard area is abandoned;
  • statement of Tadeusz Gocłowski, the Diocesan Bishop of Gdańsk, in which he rejoices at the end of the strike and hopes that it will help to free prisoners held in Gdańsk, Nowa Huta and other locations.

The presentation culminates in the communication and statement issued by the National Executive Committee on May 30, 1988. The communication assesses the course of events and significance of the May 1988 strikes. Finally, the statement calls for boycotting elections to National Councils.

Visit us at the in the Archives of the National Commission of the Solidarity Trade Union

If you are interested in the attached documents and in our other archival materials please contact us by email:

/Łukasz Grochowski, the Archives of the National Commission of the Solidarity Trade Union,
Iwona Flis, Stanisław Flis Foundation “Pomerania Archives”/