Lech Walesa was told today that he can have back his old job in Gdansk's Lenin Shipyard, birthplace of the now-banned independent trade union Solidarity that he chaired.
Shipyard officials, who earlier had hesitated to let the former union leader return to one of Poland's labor hotbeds, summoned Walesa to the sprawling shipbuilding plant and informed him that he could return next week to work as an electrician. The concession followed a call by Walesa Wednesday for conciliatory talks with the government but appeared designed to underscore the government's contention that he is just a worker like everyone else.
"I will finally have contact with the people again," Walesa said as he left the shipyard with a leap of joy.
"People have not forgotten me," he said. "The moment I entered the shipyard, I was met with applause from windows and lanes, and this is great. The people are counting on me . . . and they won't be let down."
Later, however, Walesa had to report to the provincial finance office for three hours of further interrogation about his personal finances, indicating that the Communist authorities intend to keep up pressure on him.
While the government is risking putting Walesa back in direct touch with disgruntled workers, it may have calculated that it is better to tie him to a job than allow him to continue to attend trials of former Solidarity associates and meet with underground leaders.