Staunton, May 13 – Vladimir Putin will respond by July 1 to an appeal from striking long-haul truckers to do away with the Plato fee system, the Presidential Administration says, according to Bessilikto Dugarov, a lawyer who helped drivers in Buryatia compile it (baikal-media.ru/news/society/340842/).
In that appeal (baikal-media.ru/news/society/339152/), the drivers said that they had no recourse but to strike and to continue their strike until the Plato system was cancelled. “We pay a transportation tax, we pay for fuel and equipment, we pay fines.” The Plato fees simply make our lives impossible, they said.
At the same time, the drivers indicated that they were quite prepared to negotiate and explained that for many of them, the most important thing was that the powers that be take notice of their concerns and meet them at least part of the way. That now appears to be happening not only in Moscow but elsewhere.
In other developments over the last two days, officials in North Ossetia met many of the demands of the drivers, although as a federal subject, they are not in a position to change the federal law on their own. Indications are that the strike continues there as a result (alania.news-r.ru/news/society/103082/).
Elsewhere, some drivers were leaving the parking places where they had organized the strike, and Russian media were thus declaring an end to the labor action (orsk.ru/news/71465), but many drivers said they were still on strike and would not carry any cargo until their demands were met (udm-info.ru/news/economy/11-05-2017/dalnoboyschiki-raz-ehalis-s-votkinskogo-shosse-no-do-sih-por-ne-berut-zakazov).
The long-haul drivers feel they have no choice. As one trucker from Udmurtia put it, the Plato system has driven them back into an economic situation which is “now even worse than the one they faced in the 1990s” (sobesednik.ru/politika/20170512-dalnoboyshchik-iz-udmurtii-seychas-tyazhelee-chem-v-90-e).
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