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Russian Workers Strike To Demand Back Wages

URGAN, Russia -- Dozens of workers at the Ikar metal plant in the Russian city of Kurgan are on strike to demand their overdue salaries, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Union leaders told RFE/RL that the number of strikers has risen from nine when the strike began on August 17 to 81. That is about 5 percent of the total work force of 1,700.

Union leader Stanislav Sorokin told RFE/RL that the plant's administration owed over 10 million rubles (about $329,000) to workers. He said the plant's leadership was avoiding direct talks with the union.

Output at the plant declined by 44 percent last year and continues to fall.

Kurgan Oblast Governor Oleg Bogomolov has ordered the plant's managers to draft an "anticrisis plan" by September 10. He made it clear that the plant could be declared bankrupt if they fail to do so.