Supporting Solidarity’s fight for workers' rights

In August 1980, workers went on strike at the Gdansk shipyard in then-communist Poland to enjoy their right to freely form and join trade unions.

The strikers based their demands on conventions adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on freedom of association and collective bargaining. The Polish strikers formed Solidarity, the first independent, self-governing trade union in the Eastern bloc.

ILO gave its full support to the legitimacy of Solidarity based on its Convention No. 87 on freedom of association, which Poland had ratified in 1957. It was a momentous event in the history of not only Poland, but also Eastern Europe in general.

ILO is the international organization responsible for drawing up and overseeing international labour standards. It is the only 'tripartite' United Nations agency that brings together representatives of governments, employers and workers to jointly shape policies and programmes promoting “Decent Work for all”.

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