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Walkout resumes at Russian Ford plant

Workers at a Ford production plant in Russia have resumed a strike, demanding higher salaries. A court order banning a walk-out earlier this month expired at midnight. Shortly afterwards about 500 staff at the site in St. Petersburg refused to pass the picket line.

One of them told reporters:

"We are demanding a 45 percent pay rise, because inflation is eating up our salaries. In fact we're working just to be able to feed ourselves."

The site is the biggest foreign-owned car plant in Russia and produces mainly the Ford Focus.

Some 1,500 of the 2,000-strong workforce are following the strike, demanding an equivalent of around 775 euros per month instead of 528 euros.

With Russian consumers hit by inflation that's 1.3 percentage points above the government's eight percent target, factory managers across the country face similar demands.

But a Ford spokeswoman said that management had offered to hold talks next week with a view to signing a collective agreement in March. She added that a regional court had ruled an earlier warning strike illegal.

A strike at the same site earlier this year won workers concessions including higher pay and more benefits.

This latest action comes at a boom time for foreign car-makers in Russia.


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