Russian Ford Workers Hold One-Day Strike

About 1,500 workers at a factory outside St. Petersburg held a strike to demand wage increases and a shorter night shift; union says second strike will begin Nov. 20 if demands aren't met.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Some 1,500 workers at a Ford Motor Co. factory in Russia held a one-day strike Wednesday, demanding wage increases and a shorter night shift at the plant outside St. Petersburg.
Months of negotiations with management of the plant in the suburb of Vsevolozhsk ended in October without a result, the workers' union said in a statement. It said that if the demands are not met, a second strike will begin Nov. 20 and continue until a satisfactory agreement is reached.
Workers want higher wages and a 6½-hour night shift, instead of 7½ hours.
A spokeswoman for the ZAO Ford Motor Company plant said management asked a court to declare the strike illegal on the grounds that the administration did not receive timely official notification. Management asked the court to order the workers to postpone the strike for a month, Yekaterina Kulinenko said.
After a previous one-day strike in February, Ford agreed to raise wages by 14 to 20 percent and provide other improvements. Union officials at the time said that the sides had agreed on the main sticking points but that there would be further talks.
The Vsevolozhsk plant produced about 60,000 cars last year, mainly the Focus model, and plant officials hoped to increase production to 75,000 this year.
Foreign automakers have been eager to open assembly plants in Russia to reach the growing number of consumers in the country.
Soaring world oil prices have boosted Russia's economy, lifting living standards and enabling more people to buy cars.
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