Staunton, May 3 – After ignoring the striking truck drivers in the past and rejecting calls by the strikers for talks, the Russian government has reversed itself and agreed to hold two negotiating sessions in the coming month, meeting a key demand of the truckers and giving them a real victory, according to Andrey Bazhutin of the Carriers Union.
The first meeting is slated to take place on May 11 in Moscow and will include both truckers and officials of the government and transportation ministry. Bazhutin says that the future of the Plato fee system will not be on the agenda of the first session but may at the latter one in mid-May (zaks.ru/new/archive/view/167340).
As a result, it is likely that ever more drivers will be going home from their parks across the Russian Federation, but the union leader stressed that they are overwhelmingly prepared to go back on strike if their demands are ignored. In short, Moscow may have bought some time but it has not yet ensured that the strike won’t resume in a few weeks.
Meanwhile, as has been true since the work action began on March 28, most of the activities of the truckers took place not in Moscow but in cities and towns far from the capital. In the last 24 hours, there were important developments in Yekaterinburg, Volgograd oblast and Kursk.
In Yekaterinburg, unknown persons tried to restrict the movements of the remaining truckers – most of the 60 there on the weekend have gone home to be with their families for the May holidays – by daggering a ditch around where they were parked. But the truckers crossed it and held meetings with a local official afterwards, thus ending their media and official isolation in that city (newizv.ru/news/politics/02-05-2017/bastuyuschih-dalnoboyschikov-v-ekaterinburge-otsekli-kanavoy, ura.news/news/1052287558 and ekburg.tv/novosti/obshhestvo/2017-05-03/protestnye_dalnobojshhiki_pobedili_kanavu_i_vstretilis_s_juriem_deminym
· And in Kursk, officials finally met with striking truckers although there is as yet no indication that the talks have had any positive results (censury.net/regions/bastuyushchie-dalnobojshchiki-vstretyatsya-s-kurskimi-chinovnikami.html).