About 700,000 workers of state-run metal, textile and footwear industries in the communist-ruled Republic of Serbia walked off the job Tuesday in the largest strike ever organized in Yugoslavia.

Union leaders said their members would not return to work until the republic's government of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic paid them overdue salaries and suspended increases in property and profit taxes it implemented Dec. 28 to raise revenues for its cash-strapped treasury.