13th May 2021

Workers from iconic Gdansk shipyard to protest in Brussels

  • Polish shipyard workers are to make their voices heard right in front of the European Commission (Photo: Wikipedia)

Polish workers from the historic Gdansk shipyards are set to stage a protest on Friday (31 August) in Brussels against EU pressure to restructure the company that they fear will lead to severe job losses among the firm's 3000 employees.

Some 100 Poles are expected to take part in the demonstration before the European Commission in the heart of the EU capital.

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The moves comes after the EU executive warned the Polish government that it would take measures against its efforts to save the non-rentable shipyard.

Already one day ahead of the protests, Belgian riot police were called to the commission's Berlaymont building after around 30 Polish participants entered its foyer and refused to leave when requested to do so by the security guards.

But the incident was resolved peacefully, with Polish workers calmly leaving the building after it was surrounded by policemen.

Some of them just shouted "Solidarity", the name of the trade union originating in the Gdansk shipyard which was the cradle of Poland's anti-communist movement.

Last week, Warsaw submitted its own scenario on how to revitalize the company that used to be Europe's leading shipyard, as an alternative to the commission's suggestion to cut two-thirds of its production capacity.

Brussels' recommendation came along with a warning that the shipyard might be asked to pay back millions of euros of the state aid it received after Poland joined the EU in 2004 – after which Warsaw was obliged to respect the bloc's competition rules.

The commission is currently evaluating the analysis from the Polish government and has not yet made clear whether it will accept a different reform package for the company to what its experts have suggested.

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