The Russian government reached agreement late yesterday on the payment of wage arrears to nuclear power workers. The agreement was signed after several hundred workers from the Smolensk nuclear power plant reached Moscow on the last leg of a 360-km protest march. The agreement was negotiated by Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak with representatives of seven nuclear power plants, but the Smolensk marchers said they will continue their protest until they receive their money. The 7,000 strong workforce at the Smolensk plant have not been paid since March. Today, they plan to picket the Russian government building and the Nuclear Energy Ministry. In Smolensk, 16 workers are continuing a hunger strike which they began on July 3.
Wage arrears to servicemen and workers in state-run enterprises were high on the agenda yesterday when Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin visited President Boris Yeltsin in his Karelian holiday resort; Yeltsin said the government was meeting its schedule for paying arrears but had still not improved its tax collection. Tax shortfalls underlie the wage arrears problem. (ORT, July 16; BBC, July 17)
Yeltsin Reported to Have Signed Military Reform Decrees.