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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Workers Set to Walk Out for Wages

Union organizers expect some 100,000 disgruntled workers to converge on Moscow's Vasilievsky Slope, directly behind Red Square, Tuesday afternoon as part of a one-day nationwide protest against the government's failure to cover wage arrears estimated at 42.8 trillion rubles ($7.9 billion).


The protest, organized by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, which claims to represent some 50 million workers, will include one-day strikes in 28 of Russia's 89 regions, and pickets, marches and demonstrations throughout the country. As many as 10 million people could take part.


Spokesman Vladimir Korneyev said Monday the federation regarded the one-day protest as "good background" for ongoing trilateral talks between the unions, the government and employers. The next round of talks is set for Nov. 6, and Korneyev said a timetable for paying back wages would top the agenda.


"The government has frequently promised to make good on its obligations to the workers, but the fact that we are still holding this protest shows that we are not willing to take their words at face value," Korneyev said, adding that wage arrears increased by 16 percent in October alone.


In a meeting with federation chairman Mikhail Shmakov last week, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin pledged to pay the federal budget's share of wage arrears, amounting to one trillion rubles, by the end of the year, and asked the union leader to call off the strike. Shmakov dismissed the offer out of hand.


Union leaders hold the government responsible for wage arrears at the federal and local government level, as well as from the private sector.


Moscow should be little affected by the work stoppage. Thirteen major unions will take part in the picketing of at least eight federal ministries, the Central Bank and the White House, and then march by various routes to Vasilievsky Slope, which adjoins the Kremlin, for a half-hour demonstration beginning at 4 p.m.By Patrick Henry


STAFF WRITER


Union organizers expect some 100,000 disgruntled workers to converge on Moscow's Vasilievsky Slope, directly behind Red Square, Tuesday afternoon as part of a one-day nationwide protest against the government's failure to cover wage arrears estimated at 42.8 trillion rubles ($7.9 billion).


The protest, organized by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions, which claims to represent some 50 million workers, will include one-day strikes in 28 of Russia's 89 regions, and pickets, marches and demonstrations throughout the country. As many as 10 million people could take part.


Spokesman Vladimir Korneyev said Monday the federation regarded the one-day protest as "good background" for ongoing trilateral talks between the unions, the government and employers. The next round of talks is set for Nov. 6, and Korneyev said a timetable for paying back wages would top the agenda.


"The government has frequently promised to make good on its obligations to the workers, but the fact that we are still holding this protest shows that we are not willing to take their words at face value," Korneyev said, adding that wage arrears increased by 16 percent in October alone.


In a meeting with federation chairman Mikhail Shmakov last week, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin pledged to pay the federal budget's share of wage arrears, amounting to one trillion rubles, by the end of the year, and asked the union leader to call off the strike. Shmakov dismissed the offer out of hand.


Union leaders hold the government responsible for wage arrears at the federal and local government level, as well as from the private sector.


Moscow should be little affected by the work stoppage. Thirteen major unions will take part in the picketing of at least eight federal ministries, the Central Bank and the White House, and then march by various routes to Vasilievsky Slope, which adjoins the Kremlin, for a half-hour demonstration beginning at 4 p.m.