Wildcat strike of immigrant workers in Yekaterinburg.
The Russian government tries to repress news of a strike by Tajik construction workers in the city of Yekaterinburg. The head of the Federal Migration Service has called news of the strike "nonsense" and other representatives of the state are trying to repress the news, which may be inspiring to the thousands of other immigrant workers in Russia who are facing the same situation.
The Tajik construction workers arrive at the building site three months ago. Apparently, construction was started a year ago by a Turkish building company which also failed to pay the original workers, Turkish migrant workers who left the site and were replaced by the Tajiks. The new workers had been working unpaid for three months before they started their strike on Nov 25.
Although information on the number of strikers and amount owed to them varies, about 300 people were working on the site, and, by most accounts, about 250 or more or them took part in the strike. They were owed at least 30 million roubles - over 1 million USD.
The strikers sent up a blockade around the site. The riot police came but left the strikers in peace. The public prosecutor's office and other authorities got involved and ordered the firm to pay at least half of the money owed or face criminal charges. The prosecutor drew up a schedule for paying the workers, but it is not clear this will be done. Some of the workers already left.
On sites around Russia, migrant construction workers are regularly cheated and abused. Little is done to rectify this situation and few workers actions take place. Some are hoping that this will be the first of many.