Ford workers in northwest Russia resume strike

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Some 500 workers have resumed a strike at a Ford car plant near St. Petersburg, bringing industrial action to a seventh day, the chairman of the plant's trade union said on Monday.
ST. PETERSBURG, November 26 (RIA Novosti) - Some 500 workers have resumed a strike at a Ford car plant near St. Petersburg, bringing industrial action to a seventh day, the chairman of the plant's trade union said on Monday.

The trade union launched an indefinite strike on November 20, stopping the Ford Focus production line at midnight until its demands for higher wages from March 2008 were met.

"We will continue the strike. We are ready to start talks at any point," Alexei Etmanov said, adding that the company's management had so far made no attempts to negotiate with the workers.

A Ford spokesperson told RIA Novosti: "The management's position remains unchanged."

Average wages at the U.S. auto giant's sole Russian plant are about 21,000 rubles ($850) per month, according to the factory's administration.

A previous dispute between management and employees was resolved after a one-day strike in March 2007 when the plant administration made concessions, concluding a new collective agreement providing higher wages and better employment benefits.

In early November, the workers held a 19-hour strike after the management repeatedly rejected pay rise demands. A court later upheld a suit by Ford demanding that the strike be postponed so that an agreement could be reached between union representatives and management.

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