Striking coal miners, ignoring an agreement reached with the Kremlin, stayed off the job Friday as workers from other industries joined their stoppage to protest government price increases.
"Despite the fact that most economic demands by miners were met as a result of talks between Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev with representatives of miners' work collectives, strikes continue," the official Tass news agency said.The miners' representatives on Wednesday initialed an agreement which met most of their economic demands but ignored their call for Gorbachev's resignation.
At a news conference Thursday night, miners said the agreement was inadequate because it failed to achieve political demands and fell short of economic concessions promised to end a nationwide coal strike in 1989.
As the month-old mine strike continued, other workers joined in calling for the resignation of Gorbachev.
In Minsk, the capital of Byelorussia, nearly 10,000 people walked off the job Thursday and demonstrated against Tuesday's price increases for food and consumer goods, Tass reported.
"The protest action was provoked by the price hikes and inadequate remunerations," Tass said. It included workers from the Minsk automobile plant and a motorbike and bicycle plant, as well as doctors and students.
The labor newspaper Trud said the protesters demanded the resignation of Gorbachev and his Cabinet, abolition of a new sales tax and improved living conditions.
Strike committees were being organized by Minsk trade unions and in factories, Trud said.
The workers said if their demands are not met by next Wednesday, they will urge all workers in Byelorussia to strike, the independent news agency Interfax said.
The mine strike, which began March 1, has included coal fields in Siberia, the Donetsk and Lvov regions of the Ukraine, the Rostov region of the Russian republic and the Vorkuta region in the Arctic.
An estimated 300,000 of the nations 1.2 million miners are striking.
Meanwhile, the Russian Federation parliament Friday gave final approval to new powers that boost Russian leader Boris Yeltsin's leverage in his standoff with Gorbachev.
The 1,063-member Russian Congress of People's Deputies approved the new powers 607-228, with 100 abstentions, after defeating two dozen amendments pushed by hard-line Communists.