Lublin – Lublin July (1980s strikes)

This monument marks Lublin July, a series of stoppages and strikes which took place in the city in July 1980. The complaints were originally about the quality of the food available to workers and also about the increasing costs. The strikes soon spread across the city, and to neighbouring towns, causing great concern to the communist authorities, especially when political demands such as freedom of speech were made.

The authorities desperately tried to buy the workers off to stop the strikes from spreading, but the discontent was too much to quell. The workers were organised and effective, causing industry to grind to a halt. Within a week of the first workers going on strike the dispute had grown to over 50,000 workers across tens of factories.

Instead of marching on the streets, which had been a strategy which had failed before, the workers remained in their factories and articulated their grievances from there. The bloodless protest was a pre-cursor to the wave of Solidarity strikes across Poland, which the hapless authorities had little idea how to deal with. Within ten years of the strikes in Lublin the communist authorities collapsed and Lech Wałęsa was the President of Poland.