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14 Apr, 2008 12:30

Miners embark on hunger strike

Eighty miners have gone on an indefinite hunger strike in the Russian Urals region. It is part of a long-running dispute with their employer Rusal, which led to around 100 workers refusing to leave the underground mine late last month.

The strikers eventually emerged after ten days for negotiations with company representatives and State Duma deputies, who had arrived from Moscow.

They're demanding higher pay and improved work conditions, and say they're holding a second strike because these demands have not been met.

However industrial giant Rusal believes the miners are trying to sabotage negotiations and prevent the mine re-opening.

“On April 11 an order was signed, stating certain mines should resume work. The reason for this order was the multiple requests from the workers to go back to work. A team of specialists is examining the conditions in the mines and working to prevent further strikes. We think that this hunger strike is an attempt to make the talks fail,” believes Aleksey Berdnikov from Russia’s Miners’ Trade Union.

The company claims the previous protest was illegal, and has filed a complaint against its participants.