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Tajik Miners' Wages Increased After Strike Threat

KHUJAND, Tajikistan -- Employees at the Zarafshon gold-mining company in northern Tajikistan have been given a pay increase after threatening a general strike last month, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Some 1,500 Zarafshon employees at the company in Sughd Province staged a protest in early September, warning that they would go on strike unless their wages were increased.

Miner Bobosafar Nematov told RFE/RL that the mine's management has agreed to that demand and promised to give about a 50 percent increase in the workers' salaries "soon" and the miners have abandoned their strike plans.

But he said only those miners who have full-time contracts with the company will be eligible for the wage increase.

Nematov said his previous wage was the equivalent in Tajik somonis of $100, and it will now be raised to $150.

The Zarafshon gold mine is in the Panjakent district of the Sughd region. It is the largest gold producer in Tajikistan, producing 1,100 kilograms of gold in 2010.

The company is jointly owned by China's Zijin Mining Group (75 percent) and the Tajik government (25 percent).

Read more in Tajik here