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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Short Strike Disrupts Some Air Traffic

Russian air traffic controllers said they ended a strike after just one hour Monday when state officials agreed to meet their demands for back pay.


Officials said disruption from the strike was minimal, but there were reports of re-routing and delays affecting at least two Russian carriers.


Interfax said that by 10 p.m. about 1,500 passengers from 25 flights were stranded at Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg, where they were diverted from Moscow or other areas because of the strike. Pulkovo controllers did not take part in the strike.


A spokesman for the Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Unions said union chief Valery Yezhov and the director of the Federal Aviation Service, Gennady Zaitsev, signed an accord at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to settle the strike.


Union leaders last week threatened to disrupt flights unless the government agreed to pay months of back wages and meet other conditions.


Passengers reported that three Moscow-bound Aeroflot flights from Berlin, Milan and Prague were diverted to St. Petersburg because of actions by Moscow-area controllers


Phones were constantly busy at Aeroflot offices late Monday, and the diversions could not be confirmed. A spokesman for Vnukovo Airlines referred to "heavy delays."


Foreign carriers did not appear to be affected.


Under the deal signed Monday, the government agreed to pay all salary arrears by Oct. 15, index salaries according to a recent increase in the government-set minimum wage and rescind an order cutting annual vacation days.


One Moscow local union official said some workers were dissatisfied with the accord and were continuing to withhold service to some airlines.


Alexander Vishnevsky, head of the union at the Moscow Center, which controls flights passing within a 400-kilometer radius of the capital, said controllers at the center were deciding individually whether to return to work.


He said the center's manager had not agreed to implement the required pay increases and had rejected other demands.