POLAND: Fire & Backfire

Beset by absenteeism, inadequate production and hard drinking among Poland's low-paid workers, the Communist regime of Wladyslaw Gomulka first tried friendly persuasion. When that failed, the government last month fired 2,500 miners who had played hooky once too often. As an added penalty, it forbade the men to work again in the mines, where the pay, while not enough to live on, is nevertheless almost double the average of employees in other state industries. The regime proudly claimed last week that as a result of its action, production in the mines immediately went up and absenteeism down (from 23%...

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