The Russian Defense Ministry’s civilian workers are preparing for a nation-wide strike beginning November 1 over their unpaid wages. Their trade union held a plenum on October 1 and placed more than one million members in a "pre-strike condition." The union’s chairman, Spartak Arzhavkin, said that civilians working for the military, like those in uniform, had not been paid for 3 or 4 months. The government owes the military more than 6 trillion rubles while the Defense Ministry owes its civilians and service personnel nearly 10 trillion rubles in back wages, Arzhavkin said. (Itar-Tass, RIA 1 October 1996)
Workers at the plants that build and dismantle Russian nuclear weapons are also fed up working without pay. Several dozen from the Arzamas-16 federal nuclear center, the Mayak facility in Chelyabinsk, and weapons plants in Penza and Moscow will picket the Finance Ministry today and tomorrow. (Komsomolskaya pravda, October 2) After a two-day strike at the Sokol military communications systems plant in Belgorod, meanwhile, regional and city authorities agreed to provide funds to pull the enterprise out of its current financial crisis. The help will allow the company to start paying some of its back wages. Workers at Sokol also went on strike on August 19 and threatened to stop traffic on the Moscow-Simferopol highway. They claimed not to have been paid for 8 months. (Itar-Tass 1 October 1996)
Ukraine Appoints High-Profile Envoy to NATO.