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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ford Union Ends Strike, Plans Talks

ST. PETERSBURG -- U.S. carmaker Ford will resume full production at its plant near St. Petersburg on Monday after a four-week strike that threatened to curtail a planned increase in output.

Ford said in a statement Friday that discussions on a pay deal for its employees would begin after work had restarted on the full three shifts. The plant has been running on two shifts since Dec. 10.

Workers, who began the strike Nov. 20, are demanding a 30 percent wage increase. High inflation has fueled demands for higher salaries across the country.

"This morning the trade union ... told us they are ready to commence negotiations on the full package of items for the 2008 contract within a schedule agreed by both parties today," Ford said in the statement.

Union leader Alexei Etmanov confirmed that a timetable for wage talks had been agreed on with the company, Interfax reported Friday. Pay negotiations would begin by February 2008 and no workers would be disciplined or discriminated against because of their participation in the strike, Etmanov said.

"Negotiations on the new 2008 labor contract package will begin on Monday," said Theo Streit, the plant's director.

The Vsevolozhsk plant normally operates three shifts per day using around 2,000 workers and producing 300 Focus model cars per day. Production on a single-shift basis resumed Nov. 28.

Reuters, MT