Press reports say that Russia’s largest car manufacturer, AvtoVAZ, will lay off 27,691 people, which is around 4% of the entire population of the city of Togliatti. Earlier, AvtoVAZ decided to stop its main assembly line for the whole month of August 2009. The factory will reduce the working week to 20 hours from September 2009 until the end of February 2010. This will mean a 50% pay reduction for the factory’s workers.
The decision to stop the factory’s main assembly line is likely to result in serious social problems in the whole region, given that the measures will affect not only AvtoVAZ, but its numerous suppliers as well. The company’s management has turned to the administration of the Samara Oblast and the mayor of Togliatti for help in securing work for the factory’s employees.
The independent trade union of AvtoVAZ, Yedinstvo, plans to stage a protest action on 6 August 2009 against the policies of the factory’s management. The Russian communist party, KPRF, supports the action. AvtoVAZ employs altogether 110,000 people, while Togliatti has some 705,000 inhabitants.