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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Salary Dispute Sparks Labor Protest

Workers will stage protests across the country on Oct. 28 in a dispute over salary arrears, a spokesman for the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, or FNPR, said Monday.

Protesters will picket administrative buildings, collect petitions and demonstrate in several cities, he said.

"As a last resort, workers could decide to stage a one-day strike," the spokesman said. But he stressed every union branch would decide separately whether to strike.

"The main aim of this protest action is to draw attention to the workers' worsening situation," he said.

The FNPR wants the government to press factory directors and local administrations to pay salaries on time and to help redundant workers find new jobs.

"We want everybody to act according to the law as in every civilized country," the spokesman said.

As of June 30, he said, workers were owed about 3.5 trillion rubles ($1.55 billion) in salary arrears.

So far the unions have not put forward political demands, but the FNPR spokesman said some workers were already asking for the government's resignation.

"We've decided to organize our protest movement in late October in order to give the government a chance to propose ways of solving the problems," the FNPR spokesman said.

A FNPR Joint Action Committee will meet later this week to draw up a collective letter to the government. "We expect it to give an answer by the following week," the spokesman said.

The FNPR claims over 50 million members, out of a workforce of 70 million, in more than 40 industrial sectors.