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Ford workers to continue strike until November 26

ST. PETERSBURG, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - A strike at a Ford car plant near St. Petersburg will continue at least until November 26, the chairman of the plant's trade union said on Thursday.

Alexei Etmanov said that the trade union had to suspend the strike earlier in the day, so as not to violate the Russian Labor Code.

In early November, the workers held a 19-hour strike after the management repeatedly rejected pay rise demands. The court later upheld a suit by Ford demanding that the strike be postponed so that an agreement could be reached between unions and the management.

Average wages at the U.S. auto giant's sole Russian plant are about 21,000 rubles ($850) per month, according to the factory's administration.

On November, 20, 1,500 of the factory's 2,200 workers stopped the Ford Focus production line at midnight (9:00 p.m. GMT). In response, the plant's administration restricted access to the factory by blocking the electronic passes of the striking workers, citing safety concerns.

A previous dispute between management and employees was resolved after a one-day strike in March 2007, when the plant administration made concessions, concluding a new collective agreement providing higher wages and better employment benefits.

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