Staunton, May 6 – Andrey Bazhutin, president of Russian Carriers Union, says that 4300 drivers remain on active strike, others have returned to work to earn money for their families and to spread the word to other drivers on their roots, but that all say they’ll be resume their labor action if officials don’t take them seriously on May 17.
That is the day when strike leaders are scheduled to meet with representatives of the transportation ministry and Human Rights Council. “If we are not listened to at that meeting, then the strike will enter a new stage,” the labor leader told the press in Moscow (rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/590c65669a79476c9f5cfcdd).
Bazhutin acknowledged that the greatest number of active strikers – some 3,000 – are in the North Caucasus republic of Daghestan, but he pointed out that there are some in almost all federal subjects of the Russian Federation. And he added that the strikers who have gone back to work are now spreading the word along their routes and attracting additional support.
Bazhutin welcomed conversations between the striking drivers and officials but noted that many officials were taking a hard line against the strike and that five drivers remain behind bars at the present time. The union plans to help them defend themselves in court (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2017/05/06/72389-pyatero-nashih-druzey-ostayutsya-v-tyurmah-istoriya-prodolzhaetsya).
Meanwhile, at the other end of Russia, in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the first Congress of Long-Haul Drivers of Sakha took place. Initial reports suggest that both sides welcomed the dialogue but that little or no progress was made in resolving the key issues of disbanding the Plato fee system (yakutia.info/article/180193).