30december Long-term ambition persists despite crisis.
Ford plant near St. Petersburg halts production until Jan. 21
A Ford factory near Russia's second city of St. Petersburg announced on Wednesday it had shut down its assembly lines until January 21.
The company said it made the decision, which came into effect on Wednesday, in connection with the New Year vacations, the ongoing global financial crisis and the necessity to reduce production due to the expected drop in car sales in the country next year.
In line with Russia's Labor Code, the company will be paying its workers two-thirds of their salaries during the forced outage.
The plant has seen significant worker unrest over the past couple of years, including a strike late last year that lasted nearly a month.
Some 1,000 employees halted production on November 20, 2007, demanding a 30% pay rise. The strike ended when management agreed with the union to increase wages by up to 21%.
This year, workers have prepared 600 suits against the plant's management over what they say is 9 million rubles ($330,000) in night shift wage arrears. The plant's management filed a 4.5 million ruble ($164,000) suit to compensate for losses from the strike.
The plant was opened in the summer of 2002 and employs some 2,200 workers. The factory, which produces Ford Focus cars, previously announced it planned to produce 125,000 cars in 2009.