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Russian Spaceport Workers Start Hunger Strike Over Unpaid Wages

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

Twenty-six workers at Russia's newest spaceport in the Far East have begun a hunger strike to demand overdue salaries.

One hunger striker told RFE/RL on April 3 that the workers at the Vostochny (Eastern) spaceport construction site have not been paid for several months and the building company owes each worker up to $2,500.

There are more than 5,700 people working on the Vostochny spaceport.

Some 100 workers also went on strike on March 24 to demand unpaid wages.

Earlier this week, local authorities promised to pay off the debts and some workers received their salaries, but the payments stopped after officials ran out of money.

Local prosecutors say the Stroiindustria construction company owes more than 14 million rubles ($245,000) to workers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has emphasized the importance of the new spaceport as it would reduce Russia's dependence on Kazakhstan's Baikonur space complex.