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Ford Russia trade union proposes management talks Dec.10

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ST. PETERSBURG, December 6 (RIA Novosti) - The trade union at a Ford plant near St. Petersburg, where workers have been on a three-week strike for higher wages, proposed that the management continue talks December 10, the trade union chief said.

"We suggested holding negotiations next Monday, but there has been no answer yet," Alexei Etmanov said.

Around 1,000 workers at the factory halted production on November 20 demanding a 30% pay rise. However, on November 28, some 600-700 workers crossed the picket line and production was partially resumed.

Earlier this week Etmanov said that workers were planning to hold a number of rallies and demonstrations in St. Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad Region, as talks on a pay raise had failed to produce results.

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

Average wages at the U.S. auto giant's sole Russian plant are about 21,000 rubles ($860) a month.

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