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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

AvtoVAZ Stoppage Has Limited Effect

Itar-TassYedinstvo's Zolotaryov speaking to journalists outside the gates of the AvtoVAZ plant in Tolyatti on Wednesday.
The Yedinstvo union claimed that a strike Wednesday by several hundred workers had seriously disrupted production at AvtoVAZ's giant Tolyatti plant.

Conflicting accounts emerged over the scale and impact of the strike, however, with the company's management downplaying the scale of the walkout.

According to estimates from Yedinstvo, a small independent union at the plant, a majority of employees in one workshop, between 300 and 400 workers, voted to down tools midmorning and staged a protest meeting.

Yedinstvo has been calling on workers at three crucial workshops to strike over demands to almost triple minimum wages to 25,000 rubles ($980) per month.

A spokeswoman for Yedinstvo said the production line had slowed to one-third of its normal pace and that no fully assembled cars were produced Wednesday. She could not confirm whether workers in two other workshops targeted for strike action had stopped work.

AvtoVAZ spokesman Ivan Skrylnik insisted that only a small number of people had stopped working and that the company did not recognize it as a strike.

"About 150 people out of the 112,000 working at AvtoVAZ stopped working. We consider it to be in contravention of the law," Skrylnik said. He said the company regularly held wage talks with the plant's official union. Average wages at the plant are 14,000 rubles ($550) per month, he said.

Yedinstvo chairman Pyotr Zolotaryov said the strike would not last beyond Wednesday.

Several protesters were detained during a protest outside AvtoVAZ's offices in Moscow on Wednesday, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

n The Avtostat agency forecasts that AvtoVAZ will be overtaken in sales by Toyota this year, Vedomosti reported Wednesday.