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Strikers on Moscow railroad return to work

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MOSCOW, April 29 (RIA Novosti) - Locomotive drivers at two Moscow railroad depots, who went on a rare strike over wages, went back to work on Tuesday, a spokesman for an independent workers' union said.

About 200 members of the Union of Locomotive Railworker Brigades (ULRB) went on strike on Monday, demanding a significant increase in wages due to the rising cost of living in Russia. The strike caused havoc among local residents, who commute daily into the city from satellite towns.

"We have suspended the strike awaiting the response to our demands," the head of the workers union at Zheleznodorozhnaya depot said. "Most of the locomotive drivers have returned to work."

Another URLB official, Sergei Khramov earlier said strikers would insist on their demands "using other legal methods."

State-controlled Russian Railways (RZD) called the workers' action "an illegal strike" and said rail strikes were punishable by law.

Last year, the Moscow City Court ruled a strike announced by URLB as "illegal."

RZD said locomotive drivers at the Moscow Railroad receive adequate wages, among the highest in the industry - about 35,000 rubles ($1,500) per month.

Vadim Morozov, RZD first vice president, said on Monday that strikers would not get a raise by refusing to work.

According to official statistics, inflation stood at 11.9% in 2007, exceeding the government's initial target of 8%. High inflation for the first four months of this year has threatened the government's goal of keeping it within 10% in 2008.

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