9 Jun 2009 17:32

Medvedev to take steps to avert major labor conflicts

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) - President Dmitry Medvedev "plans to carry out a set of measures this week" to preclude developments such as the recent events in Pikalyovo, Leningrad region, where wage delays and business suspension made several hundred people block a highway in protest on June 2, a Kremlin source said on Tuesday.

Huge traffic jams formed in both directions as hundreds of Pikalyovo residents blocked the federal highway between Novaya Ladoga and Vologda.

An overwhelming majority of the protesters worked for three enterprises located in the town, i.e. Basel Cement-Pikalyovo, Pikalyovsky Cement (both are affiliated with the EuroCement Group holding) and Metachem (affiliated with SevZapProm). The three enterprises had been designed to operate as an integrated technological complex.

Basel Cement suspended alumina production in February, and all the three enterprises started experiencing problems after that.

It was reported on June 3 that a group of State Duma deputies filed a bill on the nationalization of the three enterprises in Pikalyovo.

The situation was settled only after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Pikalyovo on June 4 and harshly criticized the owners of the three enterprises for neglecting the employees' interests. He demanded that the arrears on wages be settled by the end of the day.

as dp