Anniversary of the formation of Independent Trade Unions for the Coast - 29 April 1978

In 1978, as a result of the growing crisis in Poland and the emergence of the democratic opposition, Independent Trade Unions for the Coast were formed. The official date of their formation has been widely accepted as 29 April 1978, when the Founding Declaration of the Committee was drafted. Its first signatories were Andrzej Gwiazda, Antoni Sokołowski and Krzysztof Wyszkowski.

Independent Trade Unions attached the greatest importance to practical activity: providing specific legal and social assistance, and ensuring safe working conditions. The ideological work and lectures on modern history were in the background.

Independent Trade Unions of the Coast also published their own magazine 'Robotnik Wybrzeża', which appeared irregularly from August 1978 to May 1980.

The most visible activity of Independent Trade Unions were the celebrations of December 1970 anniversaries at gate No. 2 of the Lenin Gdansk Shipyard (organized since 1977). Up to several thousand people attended each year (see photos).

Independent Trade Unions did not require formal membership, which is why it is difficult to assess the number of members today. In addition to activists, there were also loosely connected collaborators. In addition, some supporters eventually gave up their activities, e.g. under pressure from the Security Service.

Independent Trade Unions became a breeding ground for human resources of the future "Solidarity" movement. The organizers of the strikes in August 1980 and future leading activists of “Solidarity” had been previously in their ranks.

Photos from the collection of the IPN's Archive, Gdansk Branch

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