Lech Walesa has said that unionists protesting against raising the retirement age should have been clubbed and Members of Parliament from the ruling ''Civic Platform” party want to sue them for ''forced overtime”.
While the Parliament was voting to raise the retirement age, Solidarity organized some symbolic protests. Symbolic because you cannot fight this war by avoiding strikes at every time. Instead of even a symbolic one-day general strike, or thousands marching the streets, a few hundred unionists came out. One group of them decided to “block” the Parliament and declared they would not let the politicians out.
I arrived on the scene to see if we should gather some people for the action. Upon consulting several union leaders, (which in the case of that union, are usually easier to find that rank and file workers) I found out that they planned to stay there symbolically until 5 or 6 PM and then go away. No intention to fight. Asking around a little more, it became clear that the whole thing was a show and a union which does not call on even its own membership to take off work and fight is bound to lose.
Because some members of Parliament had to stay until 6PM, they would like to pour salt on the wounds of the union – by suing it for compensation, claiming that they were forced by them to “work overtime”.
Worst of all were the words of Lech Walesa, who should be known in all workers' histories as one of its all-time most treacherous traitors. On the radio he said that, if he were PM Tusk, he would have clubbed the demonstrators. “Authority is authority. If I were in the place of Tusk, I would have given the order – club them.” Walesa said that first of all he would beat the leader of Solidarity, who “is not able to make smart pacts in free Poland”, claiming that he would have beat him himself. He claimed that the actions of the union were not appropriate for the era.
Walesa also criticized the idea to have protests during the upcoming EURO saying that they would “scare away football fans” and hurt the Polish economy.
Apparently Walesa thinks in “free Poland” battles are done politely at negotiating tables. But that's the whole reason for the unions' failures in the first place.