Polish strikers were debating whether to accept a compromise hammered out today between the communist authorities and leaders of the independent Solidarity union federation aimed at defusing widespread industrial unrest.
An emergency meeting of Solidarity's national leadership was set for Sunday here to decide whether to go ahead with a one-hour, nationwide general strike planned for Tuesday. Following marathon talks with the government, which ended at dawn after 12 1/2 hours, there appeared a good chance that the strike threat would be called off or at least suspended.
During the negotiations, agreement was reached on two of Solidarity's outstanding grievances: the dispute about the introduction of a five-day work week and demands for greater access to the news media.
But discussion of a third demand -- for recognition of an independent farmers' union called Rural Solidarity -- was shelved for the time being. Arguments about the legalization of Rural Solidarity, which has been strongly resisted by the communist authorities, are to be heard by the Polish Supreme Court on Feb. 10.
Before arriving at government headquarters in Warsaw for the latest talks, Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said all three issues would have to be settled "as a package." Twelve hours later, however, he described the compromise reached with the government as "Solidarity's greatest success so far," hinting that he would recommend suspension of the general strike.
But other more militant Solidarity officials, including the union's chief theoretician, Andrzej Gwiazda, expressed some unhappiness with the results, which they said did not fulfill all their objectives.
Solidarity members in the southwestern city of Jelenia Gora decided overnight to call off industrial action, but a citywide strike continued into its fourth day in southern Bielsko Biala. The Solidarity national leadership sent a delegation to the town to attempt to persuade strikers to return to work.
Under the compromise, the government agreed to introduce a five-day work week by next year. This year, employes will work every fourth Saturday, or an average of 42 hours a week.,
The government also agreed to allow Solidarity to broadcast its own radio and television program and go ahead with a planned weekly newspaper. The paper will be edited by Tadeusz Mazowieczki, a leading Catholic journalist and one of Walesa's closest advisers.
Radio and television news bulletins will also report in a more detailed manner on meetings of Solidarity's national leadership. With some exceptions, the state-controlled media have until now devoted only sparse news coverage to Solidarity decisions
During the last week, however, reporting of Solidarity activities has noticeably broadened. State television broadcast a debate between union and government representatives on the issue of free Saturdays, and news bulletins showed an interview with Walesa prior to his talks with Premier Jozef Pinkowski.
In the central city of Lodz, meanwhile, students demanding changes in the curriculum, including the abolition of compulsory courses in Marxism, continued a 10-day sit-in despite a meeting with Education Minister Janusz Gorski.