Soviet Parliament Rejects Call for Strike Ban
DEPUTIES to the Soviet parliament yesterday appear certain to approve government proposals for a nationwide ban on strikes to avoid a repeat of the industrial unrest that plagued the country in July. First Deputy Prime Minister Lev Voronin put the proposals to the Supreme Soviet Monday in a four-point program designed to end a slide in industrial production and ensure proper energy supplies for winter. He received immediate backing from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who said stiff measures were needed to pull the country from the catastrophe created by rail stoppages in Azerbaijan and a three-week coal strike in July.
Deputies agreed to refer the matter to commissions and committees, which would report back in time for yesterday's vote. But Mr. Gorbachev's backing for the measures made it a virtual certainty they would be voted in by a large majority.
Gorbachev said further strikes would amount to ``holding our reforms by the throat.'' The authorities' concern was clearly heightened by the coming of winter, when energy supplies are a first priority in most parts of the country.
Mr. Voronin's plan also includes measures to allow a virtual military takeover of the rail network in the Transcaucasian region, where Azerbaijani workers have blocked supplies to neighboring Armenia for more than a month. The blockade appeared to have been lifted last week, after Gorbachev issued a warning of ``severe measures'' in his opening address Sept. 25 to the Supreme Soviet session. But railway officials said Monday that no trains had arrived for the past three days in Armenia, which has been hit by severe fuel and food shortages.