The IPN’s portal on Independent Trade Unions 1978–80

On the portal you will find digital copies of documents, photos, personal testimonies, films and other resources. Most of the published documentation comes from the archival materials of the Polish People’s Republic security services, supplemented by  documents donated to the Institute by private persons.
The portal presents the history of the formation of Independent Trade Unions and the profiles of those associated with the movement, such as its leaders and  activists, in recognition of  their fight for a free Poland.
In 1978, Independent Trade Unions for the Coast were formed as a result of the growing crisis in Poland and the emergence of the democratic opposition,. 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.

29 April 2020 marked the 42nd anniversary of the announcement of the Founding Declaration of the Committee for Independent Trade Unions (WZZ) for the Coast in Gdansk. In the Founding Declaration of WZZ of the Coast of 29 April 1978, Andrzej Gwiazda, Antoni Sokołowski and Krzysztof Wyszkowski wrote: "Broad democratisation is an absolute necessity today. The society must fight for the right to democratically manage its State. All its layers must gain the opportunity to self-organise and create social institutions that honestly implement their rights. Only authentic social unions and associations can save the state, as only through democratisation does the road lead to the integration of the interests and will of the citizen with the interest and strength of the State. These tasks are carried out by existing social institutions, such as the Committee for Social Self-Defence KOR (Polish: Komitet Samoobrony Społecznej KOR), the Movement for Defence of Human and Civic Rights (Polish: Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela), the Society for Scientific Courses (Polish: Towarzystwo Kursów Naukowych), and Student Committees of Solidarity (Polish: Studenckie Komitety Solidarności). Remembering the tragic experiences of December 1970, based on the expectations of numerous groups and communities on the coast, we are taking on the Silesian initiative to create independent trade unions[1]. Today, on the eve of 1 May, a holiday that for over 80 years symbolised the struggle for workers' rights, we establish the founding committee of the Independent Trade Unions for the Coast. The goal of Independent Trade Unions is to organise the defence of the economic, legal and humanitarian interests of employees. Independent Trade Unions declare their help and care for all employees, regardless of their beliefs or qualifications".

A fragment of the introduction to the portal, Prof. Sławomir Cenckiewicz



go up