A quarter of a million Polish workers continued wildcat strikes today despite an appeal for restraint by the leadership of the independent trade union federation Solidarity.
Meanwhile, despite a government decree giving Army personnel a role in supervising the work of regional administration, there was no sign of increased military activity in Poland. Solidarity activists reacted cautiously to the government statement, saying it would make little difference in the union's future activities.
The decree authorized the establishment of special task forces made up of Army officers and soldiers whose regular two-year period of military service has been extended by two months. The groups will travel throughout Poland to assist civil authorities in investigating citizens' complaints, improving food distribution and tackling mismanagement.
Officials refused to disclose the size of the task forces. But the wording of the government statement appeared to suggest that they would be relatively small and involved primarily in administrative rather than security duties.
In some towns, soldiers have been taking part in joint Army-police patrols for the past few weeks.
Political analysts here said it appeared that the government decree, authorized by the premier and new Communist Party leader, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, was intended as much as an attempt to increase central control over the regional administration as a psychological warning to Solidarity.
Neither Solidarity officials nor Polish observers interpreted it as a sign that the declaration of martial law was imminent.
Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., asked at a press conference in Cancun, Mexico, about the situation in Poland, said, "The Polish situation is one in which there was an announcement yesterday that the Polish military would assume an increased role for internal order and to help with the efficiency of the running of the government and that Polish officers and soldiers would be deployed countrywide to assist in this process.
"Now we have been watching the situation very carefully since that announcement was made. We find that it's too early yet to characterize the impact of this decision. Poland remains . . . calm, and therefore I would say only time will tell just what the true impact of this decision is.
"Some have asked, is this martial law, and clearly it is something less than that at this juncture, and from that I suppose we can take some comfort. But we will have to continue to watch the situation carefully."
Asked whether he saw the moves in Poland as being controlled by the Polish government or being done under the influence of the Soviet Union, Haig answered, "I would say thus far it looks like an internal matter and we're watching it very carefully from that point of view."
Major strikes and occupation of factories by workers went ahead in at least three Polish provinces over issues ranging from allegations of mismanagement to anger over food shortages. In an attempt to steer the unrest, Solidarity leaders yesterday called a one-hour nationwide warning strike for Wednesday while appealing to local branches to halt wildcat strikes.
In the western province of Zielona Gora, a local Solidarity spokesman said about 150,000 workers would continue their occupation and strikes at approximately 700 factories until their demands were met. The strikers have called for the dismissal of officials at a state farm who ordered the firing of a manager who was a member of Solidarity.
In a telephone interview, the spokesman, Marian Podsada, said: "It would be stupid to give up our protest now in order to make the one-hour strike look better. We shall carry on no matter what the national leadership says."
In the southeastern province of Tarnobrzeg, 120,000 workers are occupying about 200 factories to protest food shortages. Near Warsaw, 12,000 textile workers in the town of Zyradow are in the 13th day of a strike protesting food shortages.
Solidarity officials, however, cautioned that, given the level of tension in the country, it was too soon to expect any immediate drop in industrial unrest. Union branches in several other provinces have declared states of strike readiness but have said they will follow the advice of the national leadership.