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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Metalworkers to Protest

Russian metalworkers plan to demonstrate in front of government headquarters on Friday in protest over the industry's financial plight, a trade union official said on Tuesday.

"Although we don't want to go on strike, we have other means of pressure at our disposal," said Boris Misnik, the head of the metalworkers' union. "We could, for example, stop supplies to other sectors, such as defense or consumer goods industries."

Misnik said no decision on industrial action would be taken until after the Friday protest. Coal miners are due to hold a similar protest on March 30.

It is not known how many metalworkers, from some of the world's biggest smelters of aluminum, nickel and other metals, will take part in the protest.

They are demanding emergency state support for the sector, including tax breaks and controls on transport costs.

"Under present conditions, transport prices are higher than production prices," Misnik said.

Metallurgical plants and ore producers are owed more than five trillion rubles (about $3 billion) by consumers across the Commonwealth of Independent States. The sector, for its part, owes more than four trillion rubles for transport, electricity supplies and fines for payment delays.

Many enterprises have been unable to pay salaries and several plants in the far eastern Primorye region have put workers on compulsory leave.

The metalworkers union claims to have more than two million members at about 2,000 plants and ore enterprises.