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Russian Trade Unions Start Five Days Of Protests

Automaker AvtoVAZ is set to lay off thousands of workers
MOSCOW -- The Russian Federation of Independent Trade Unions has begun a five-day mass protest today called "For Worthy Labor!" in several cities across the country, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The action -- which attracted thousands of protesters -- is being used to challenge mass layoffs, overdue salary payments, and worsening living conditions for workers in Russia.

The federation's leaders said on October 5 that the nationwide protests will include marches, pickets, and mass gatherings in various cities and towns.

Unemployment in Russia reached a five-year high of 9.5 percent earlier this year, but has improved in recent months.

Russia's leading automaker, AvtoVAZ, announced last week that it will cut some 28,000 jobs in the coming months, and national airliner Aeroflot announced the laying off of some 2,200 workers.