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Russia: Trade Unions Strike Over Unpaid Wages

Moscow, 5 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Thousands of trade union members are staging or plan to stage strikes in cities across Russia today over unpaid wages, according to news reports.

The German Press Agency DPA reports that in the Far East, some 10,000 people, mostly employees of armaments factories, marched today in Vladivostok. Hundreds of doctors demonstrated in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

In Moscow, a rally is planned alongside Red Square. Other demonstrations are planned in Saint Petersburg, Omsk and elsewhere.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia says that workers including coal miners, machinists, and defense industry employees will participate in today's actions.

The federation's secretary, Andrei Isayev, told the Interfax news agency that trade unions across Europe, from Moldavia to Spain, had sent messages supporting today's strike actions.

Isayev also said that several million people were already taking part in meetings, demonstrations and work stoppages in the majority of Russia's regions. He said 4,000 people marched in the Siberian city of Tomsk today, demanding the resignation of the government. Isayev also said city transport workers in Armavirye in southern Russia had gone on strike for several hours.

The federation said that as of the beginning of October, hundreds of millions of dollars in back wages were owed union workers.