Russia: Female factory workers start hunger strike

Urgent solidarity appeal!

Six female workers at the ‘Kholodmash’ factory in Yaroslavl city, Russia, including the leader of the plant’s trade union, Olga Boiko, started an “indefinite hunger strike”, on 16 May.

Workers began the hunger strike as part of their campaign demanding payment of several months wage arrears and to demand a plan to save the Kholodmash factory, which is now on the verge of bankruptcy.

Only weeks ago, on 27 March, the workforce occupied the Director’s office in the factory and refused to release the Director until he promised to begin negotiations with them, including participation by the regional government. The occupation ended after the regional governor, Anatolii Lisitsyn, agreed to participate in finding a solution (see previous report).

However, notwithstanding many promises, the workers’ demands are still not met. At the end of April, the Regional Government (Oblduma) turned down a proposal to open a credit line for the factory. As a result, the workforce, once again, find themselves with no way out but to step up their protests. In desperation, six workers have taken the drastic decision to go on hunger strike. On 30 May, the Arbitration Court is due to meet to decide whether to declare the factory bankrupt.

The Kholodmash workers need the energetic support of trade unionists, socialist organisations, and human rights groups. Solidarity protest actions are needed.

Please send emails, faxes or letters of protest, to:

Valerii Kalinkin, Kholodmash Director

or by fax +7 4852 552204

(If the phone is answered, just say “Start fax”, and wait for the fax ring tone).

Also, please send protests to:

Anatolii Lisitsyn, Yaroslavl Region Governor.

Fax to ++7 4852 328414.

Please send copies of protests to

(they will be passed on to the Kholodmash workers).

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