9/25/2009 – Solidarity and the Gdansk Shipyards

In the 1980’s, the workers at the Gdansk Shipwards banded together to form Solidarity.  Lech Walesa became the head of the union.  By walking off their jobs at the shipyards they managed to play a major role in getting Poland it’s independence from the Soviets in 1989.  The Gdansk Shipyards were one of the largest controlled by the Soviets.

Once Poland was independent, things started going downhill at the shipyards since their equipment was antiquated and their heavy dependence on manual labor kept them from being competitive in the open market.  Employment has dropped from a high of 17,000 to about 3,000 today.

We were fortunate to be able to ride our zodiacs through the shipyards and get an up-close look.  It’s an amazing place to visit due to the shear scale of the equipment and the size of the ships they are building or repairing.  In the pictures, look for zodiacs and people to help appreciate the scale.


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