MOSCOW/NIZHNY NOVGOROD, May 17 (RIA Novosti) - With Russia acceding to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Russian automobile and agricultural engineering industries will see a 30%-50% drop in output, which may end up in the collapse of many manufacturers. This is a forecast by independent experts, voiced at today's picket at Government House by more than 500 trade unionists of the Russian automotive and agricultural engineering industries. First and foremost, the protesters demand national manufacturers supported by the state. "We demand that the government provide us with information on the social and economic impact of Russia's WTO accession on the automotive industry," the industry's Deputy Trade Union Chairman Viktor Gorenkov said.
He also underlined that the government had abolished customs duties for imported spares and components for industrial assembly of cars. "This places our car makers at a disadvantage in terms of competitiveness," Gorenkov stressed.
He told the media that personnel were concerned about the negative trend in the industry.
"The output has been dropping, jobs have been slashed and pay is intolerably low. The wage arrears have been piling up," Gorenkov said.
The protesters at Government House hold posters reading "Governmental Support for Russian Car Industry" and "Russia without Machine-Building Has No Future".
The automobile and agricultural engineering trade union numbers about 800,000 members. According to protester Seidula Sirazhutdinov, a worker with auto manufacturer GAZ, there are trade unionists from GAZ, AutoVAZ, Vladimir Tractor Plant, ZIL, Pavlovsk Bus Plant, Likinsk Bus Plant, Yaroslavl Diesel Plant, Moscow Bearings Plant, Moscow Assembly Plant, Vladimir Auto Instrument Plant and other manufacturers.