Leaders of Poland's independent trade union organization Solidarity won oral assurances from the government early today for action on a number of worker grievances but failed to obtain the promises in writing.
The absence of a written communique left union organizers skeptical about the results and repeating their strike threat.
On the central question of the wording of Solidarity's charter, the union was told that the Polish Supreme Court would hear its appeal Nov. 10 of a Warwaw district court ruling last week that formally registered the new union but in the process forced language into its statute that explicitly referred to certain key communist principles.
The government's promise of a specific appeal date was seen as prolonging the current tension. At the same time, it appeared to be a positive move by the government to get out of a dilemma -- how to deflect union anger about the court action without appearing to be in a position to influence supposedly independent court decisions.
Moreover, the government was said to have assured Solidarity that the union could retain its newly won legal status during the appeal process.
Union organizers said they also won government pledges for more media access, including publication of its own trade union paper, for the release of printing equipment sent by Western European sources to Solidarity but held up by Polish customs officals, and for some wage adjustments.
But the failure to draft a communique called into question the understanding arrived at during the marathon closed meeting at the Council of Ministers between Solidarity's leadership and Prime Minister Jozef Pinkowski.
"We were tired," said Solidarity chief Lech Walesa at a press conference after the meeting broke up at 1 a.m.
Placing the blame for the absence of a written agreement, union sources said small negotiating teams from both sides had drafted one late yesterday evening. But it was to have been found unacceptable by the government.
This fact pointed to the strong influence of hard-liners in the Warsaw leadership, despite the progressive accent evident in recent top-level changes. lIn this light, the unexpected trip this week to Moscow by Polish Communist Party chief Stanislaw Kania and Pinkowski was seen as indecisive in tilting the balance of forces.
Walesa said he was left with "mixed feelings" about the outcome of the talks.
"Regarding our readiness to strike, we don't pull back," he declared, adding that the union would take a wait-and-see attitude on how faithfully the government follows through on its latest guarantees.
Solidarity has picked Nov. 12 as a "strike alert" day -- that is a day by which the union will be prepared to state selective strikes across Poland. Whether the strikes actually take place will depend on how events unfold in the next dozen days.
Yesterday's meeting marked a critical encounter betweeen the Polish Communist authorities and the newly formed free trade union -- a test of the ability of each to negotiate differences against a backdrop of Poland's seriously deteriorating economy and the tense international attention being given to events here.
The test was inconclusive, affording little hope that the situation here will be calmed in the near future.
Union leaders had called for the urgent talks with Pinkowski earlier this week following the Warsaw court's registration decision. Pulling up to the gray sandstone building, which is headquarters for the Polish Council of Ministers, more than 80 Solidarity representatives stepped out of two buses and filed in.
They met Pinkowski and the ministers of justice, agriculture, and wages and prices seated around an oval table in a large conference hall. The tone of the session was described variously by participants as tough, businesslike and calm. Walesa said, "We understood each other well."
Union leaders arrived with a list of grievances that had grown longer as the week progressed. In a statement released just before the talks began, Solidarity charged the government with breaching sections of the Gdansk agreement signed Aug. 31 that promised the formation of independent trade unions and provided for a package of wage and social benefits.
Earlier, The Associated Press reported from Warsaw:
Western diplomats in Moscow believe that the Soviets bluntly told the Polish leaders to find effective ways of controlling the new unions in order to retain Kremlin confidence. Moscow is believed to be unyielding on the question of the Communist Party's leading role in the society.
Earlier in the day, both union and government sources said that the "businesslike and friendly talks" had produced agreement on several grievances that prompted the federation's strike threat. Both sides refused to elaborate.
The union group sought the meeting at Pinkowski's office in Warsaw to discuss the forced change in its charter.
In the agreements that settled the summer's wave of strikes, workers won the right to form unions independent of party control. Although they agreed to recognize the primacy of the party, they refused to state this explicity in their draft charter.
In the hastily scheduled Kremlin meeting, Kania and Pinkowski reported directly to Brezhnev on their attempts "to stabilize life in the country," Poland's state television said.
"Comrade Brezhnev expressed the conviction of all Soviet communists, the whole Soviet society, that the Polish working people are able to solve the urgent problems facing them in political and economic development," the evening news broadcast said.
It said both sides "firmly condemned attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Poland" by some "imperialist circles," an apparent reference to support for the Polish unions from labor organizations in the United States and other Western nations.
The first meeting between Soviet leaders and the new Polish hierarchy that took power as a result of this summer's labor rebellion was held in "an atmosphere of cordiality and an identity of views," the official Soviet news agency Tass said.