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Russia: Some Miners Undecided About Return To Work

Moscow, 12 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russian Trade union leaders ordered a halt to a nationwide coal miners' strike as of today, but some miners did not go back to work immediately.

The leadership of the Rosugol miners' trade union announced late yesterday they were suspending the strike, which began on December 3, after Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin vowed to settle wage debts by the end of this month.

Itar-Tass news agency reports however some miners in the Rostov region are undecided. An extraordinary meeting of the local trade union has been called for later today to decide whether to continue the strike until the miners have received their wages.

Meanwhile Reuters quotes Ekho Moskvy radio station as saying six miners from the Kuzbass mining region are starting a fast until the government settles their wages.

At the high point of the protest, union leaders said up to 400,000 miners in nearly 200 pits and open-cast mines were on strike. According to union estimates the government debt to the industry is more than two trillion roubles ($400 million).