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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ford Plant Workers Threaten To Strike Over Wage Demands

Workers at the Ford plant near St. Petersburg plan to hold a one-day work to rule Wednesday over wage demands and could hold a full-blown strike in two weeks, the plant's labor union said Tuesday.

The union, which is part of the Interregional Auto Industry Workers Union, an independent union grouping that includes workers from the giant AvtoVAZ plant in Tolyatti, said in a statement on its web site that four months of pay talks with Ford management had collapsed without agreement.

The union action would be the second at the plant this year. In February, workers held a one-day sit-in strike over pay and conditions and secured a one-year collective bargaining agreement from the company.

The plant's union leader, Alexei Etmanov, said by telephone Tuesday that Wednesday's work to rule would be a warning.

The workers, he said, are pressing for an increase in salaries from 19,000 rubles to 28,000 rubles ($770 to $1,140) per month, starting in March. The work to rule was needed because the union had not received assurances that its demands would be met, Etmanov said.

"If they fail to accede to our demands, a full-blown strike action will follow, starting Nov. 20," Etmanov said.

Ford spokeswoman Yekaterina Kulinenko said by telephone Tuesday that the company had received no official notification of the work to rule.

"The workers can indeed go on strike but that would be illegal," Kulinenko said. "If the strike goes ahead as rumored, the company will take the union leaders to court."

Etmanov said union officials were preparing to serve a notice of the work to rule to the authorities later Tuesday.