Russian Ford employees return to work, talks to be continued

A month-long strike an the Ford plant near Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg is over, and employees went back to their work Monday.

The company and the union agreed to continue talks on wage and hour demands.

The head of the union, Alexei Etmanov, said "It's neither a failure nor a victory for either side. It's just a new stage in the struggle for our interests." The union is seeking wage increases of more than 30 percent and a reduction of the night shift to 6.5 hours.

Assembly line workers currently make about 19,000 rubles (US$800; EUR560) a month. Ford has offered an 11-percent raise beginning in March.

The plant, in Vsevolozhsk, produced about 60,000 cars last year, mainly the Focus model.

"We are very pleased with the decision by the trade union that will allow all employees to get back to work," plant director Theo Streit said in a statement.

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