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15:46 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Russia

Russian Gun-Makers Protest Low Wages

Russia
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Workers at Russian small-arms maker Izhmash - home of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle - gathered on Wednesday for a spontaneous rally to protest reduced wages.

Workers at Russian small-arms maker Izhmash - home of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle - gathered on Wednesday for a spontaneous rally to protest reduced wages.

About 300 workers temporarily blocked the entrance to one of the production facilities demanding an explanation about their sharply reduced salaries this month, according to the head of regional defense industry trade union, Grigory Chernykh.

“This time, the workers received only 5,000 rubles ($163) for a month of work,” Chernykh said, adding that an average salary used to be 15,000 rubles (about $500).

“Workers of the production facility No. 103 gathered for a spontaneous rally after they saw the figures in their salary slips,” he said.

The management has so far refused to discuss the salary issue with the workers, but local prosecutors and federal officials in the region vowed to probe the situation as soon as possible.

“Udmurtia prosecutors and federal officials will soon hold talks with the Izhmash management,” chief federal inspector for Udmurtia, Dmitry Musin, said.

According to official reports, Izhmash has been experiencing serious financial troubles lately.

Production fell by 50 percent in September, leading to cuts in salaries.

Izhmash, which is controlled by Russian state-owned corporation Russian Technologies (Rostechnologii), produces over 70 types of weaponry, including firearms and high-precision artillery rounds, as well as a variety of sporting and hunting weapons.