About 500,000 teachers and educators all over Russia went out on strike September 26 for higher pay. According to Galina Melnikova, an official of the Union of Russian Education and Scientific Workers, the average salary of a Russian schoolteacher is about 250,000 rubles a month, lower than the official poverty line of 321,000 rubles a month. Melnikova added that the strike would continue for at least one week, until the union votes on whether to continue the walkout. Meanwhile, the powerful Union of Coal Workers also announced the beginning of strike activity in Russia’s coal-producing regions. Regional union representatives announced that they would begin their campaign with meetings in the Kuzbass, Vorkuta, and the Far East coal basin, and would be ready for a full-fledged strike by October 10. The leaders of the state-owned company Rossugol, which incorporates most coal- mining enterprises, said that they would need at least 40 billion rubles from the federal budget to satisfy the miners’ demands. (8)
Both strikes have political significance in that they undermine the government’s claims that the economy is stabilizing in the midst of the election campaign.
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