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Ford workers in Russia ready for strike

20 June, 2013The Interregional Trade Union of Autoworkers (ITUA) scheduled a strike on 24 June at Ford in Vsevolozhsk, Russia, over the issues of wages and working conditions.

The IndustriALL Global Union affiliated ITUA reports that Ford management in Vsevolozhsk, 25km east of St. Petersburg, has been informed of the planned strike on 24 June. The strike will begin at 8:30am.

Earlier during the collective bargaining round workers rejected an 8.6 per cent wage raise proposed by the administration. Out of this figure, 6.6 per cent accounts for inflation leaving only a 2 per cent increase in real terms.

The average monthly wage at the plant is roughly 940 euros. Workers demand a hike to 1150 euros (50,000 roubles).

“We understand that the real inflation level in Russia is higher than the official figure. Labour productivity at our plant is very high. However, our wages are not enough to provide decent education for our children, ensure quality healthcare and a normal retirement, have good vacations and comfortable housing,” says Alexander Kashitizin, president of the ITUA local at Ford in Vsevolozhsk.

Kashitzin notes that company profits are constantly rising, and the share of labour costs in overall expenses is low.

Other issues at the plant include poor working conditions, inadequate health and safety training, lack of breaks due to high temperature in the summer required by Russian labour laws. In November-December 2012 Ford workers conducted a work-to-rule protest over working conditions.

The Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk, Russia, is well-known for its militant union local which held eight strikes since 2006.