Tuesday, September 15, 1998 Published at 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
Russian teachers' strikes spreading
Another 1,800 schools are to be affected by strikes
Strikes among Russian teachers are spreading, as demands over unpaid salaries become more urgent.
Two weeks after the beginning of the new school year, a further 80,000 teachers in 1,800 schools are taking strike action, joining over 20,000 colleagues who are already on indefinite strike. Earlier this month 11,000 teachers in Siberia staged a three-day strike.
Although only a small proportion of Russia's 67,000 schools are closed, union leaders threaten that industrial action could escalate, with demonstrations planned for early next month, to be followed if there is no settlement by a two-week national strike.
The deputy head of the Russian Education Workers' Union, Vladimir Pavlikhin, estimated that teachers across the country were owed almost a £1bn in salary arrears.
Even if teachers are paid, unions are concerned that drafts of the budget for next year do not include the linking of teachers' pay rises with inflation. Teachers' salaries have not been index linked for three years.
Union leaders will be pressing the new prime minister Yevgeni Primakov and his government to resolve the issue of back pay and to protect salary levels from inflation.