Thousand Workers Could Go on Strike in Russian Ford Plant Slated for Closure

Salon de l'auto de Genève 2014 - 20140305 - Ford

Workers at a Ford factory in Russia slated for closure in June could organize a partial shutdown of production this week to protest layoffs of over 1,000 employees, a local labor union leader said Friday, according to

Ford Sollers, the American automotive giant’s joint venture in Russia, announced late last month it would close its assembly plant in Vsevolozhsk in the Leningrad region — which employs over 900 people and produces Focus and Mondeo models — as part of a larger cost-cutting measure amid falling sales. By July, three of Ford’s four plants in Russia will be closed and the company will halt all production of passenger vehicles in the country.

At a meeting with around 300 workers on Friday, Mikahil Sergeev, the chairman of Ford’s local labor union in Vsevolozhsk, called for a so-called “Italian strike” — or work to rule — to begin on Monday morning to pressure the factory’s management to enter into negotiations over the conditions of layoffs.

Under the strategy, which has been employed by the union in the past, workers follow labor regulations to such a degree as to massively slow down production.

“If at least half of the factory’s employees begin ‘playing by the rules’, it will be very painful for the factory’s management,” Sergeev said.

The labor union has demanded severance packages that include two years’ salary for workers who are laid off – citing payments that Ford has made to workers in Germany and Romania.