Ford Workers Vote to Accept Pay Deal

ST PETERSBURG -- Workers at Ford's car plant near St. Petersburg have approved a pay deal offered by management and agreed not to repeat strike action in the immediate future, union leader Alexei Etmanov said Monday.

Workers at the plant went on strike for four weeks in November and December, demanding their monthly wages be increased to 28,000 rubles ($1,150) from 19,000 rubles ($770).

Management rejected the demands and the action collapsed, but last week managers offered a pay deal that increased wages by 16 percent to 21 percent, fixed initial monthly wages at 19,000 rubles and set average monthly wages at 25,586 rubles ($1,050).

"The majority [of workers] voted for the deal, there will be no more strikes," Etmanov said.

Ford, which produced 75,000 Focus models at its Russian plant in 2007, plans to invest $100 million to increase capacity to as much as 125,000 units in 2009 and start making the Mondeo model.