Thursday, May 11, 2017

Russia’s Long-Haul Truckers Call for All-Russian Solidarity Action

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 11 – The Russian long-haul truckers strike continues, with some workers now returning to the parking areas where they had maintained their labor action for more than a month prior to the May holidays. Some activists are calling for an all-Russian action, others are organizing local union branches, but some are frustrated by the lack of solidarity among drivers.

            In Karachayevo-Cherkessia in the North Caucasus, approximately 500 drivers said today that they were continuing to strike, although all but 70 of them simply parked their trucks at home rather than coming to rallying points.  They issued a call for an all-Russian action to support the anti-Plato fee movement (

            In Daghestan, a meeting took place yesterday between the striking drivers and the government with the republic prime minister Abdusamad Gamidov promising that “all” the strikers’ demands are on the table and must be resolved, a change from last week when Makhachkala said Plato would not be discussed (

            Given the Daghestani authorities’ greater willingness to meet the strikers part way, some drivers in the republic are now signing up for the Plato system in order to avoid fines, but others say they will never do that after suffering the losses of more than a month on the picket line. A few say they may simply give up driving (

            One driver was especially upset that any of his colleagues would now sign up under the Plato system.  “What did we strike for,” he asked.  “So that we could stand in line to register?”  He said there was less solidarity than there should be and that a Moscow meeting of drivers yesterday had accomplished nothing: Drivers from the North Caucasus weren’t even there.

            Another driver complained that as of now, “there is no unity … If all the long-haul drivers of the country from Moscow to the Urals and from Siberia to Daghestan rose as a single whole even for three days – it wouldn’t take a week – that would lead to the results” the drivers want

            “But there is no solidarity!” he continued. While some strike, others make money or avoid punishment by cooperating.  “Now, I even don’t know what to do.” It may be time to sell his truck, he suggested, and “go into the mountains,” a code phrase for joining the anti-government militants in the North Caucasus.

            Meanwhile, drivers in two other locations today announced plans for new meetings and demonstrations. In Oryol, drivers have scheduled a union organizing meeting for tomorrow (; and in Novgorod Veliky, they have secured approval to hold a demonstration on Sunday (

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