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RUBTSOVSK, Russia -- Scores of protesters at a tractor-building plant in Russia's central Altai Krai region have ended their hunger strike after they started receiving their back wages, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Sergei Yurchenko, the leader of the strike committee and head of the city of Rubtsovsk's Communist Party, announced on May 21 that the hunger
strike for the 172 workers was over after long talks with local authorities and the plant's owner, RATM-Holding.

The hunger strike was launched by 73 workers on May 15 and was gradually joined by dozens of other workers. A reported 26 strikers have been hospitalized since the action began with one woman going into a coma as a result of the hunger strike.

The plant's owner owes workers a total of some $3.3 million. The industrial facility was closed several months ago due to low demand for the tractors. Yurchenko told journalists today that all 172 hunger strikers would get their overdue salaries in full and that other workers would receive their unpaid
wages in tranches.

Last month, the factory workers sent a videotape to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urging him to intervene in the situation.