Nuclear Defence Workers goes on Strike

Publish date: September 8, 1998

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

People are really hungry. How can you ask them to look after our security? Yury Bersenyev, a scientist from the closed nuclear city of Snezhinsk, said in an interview with The Moscow Times. Employees at nuclear defense facilities in Russia will lay down their tools Wednesday for a one-hour strike.

Itar-Tass reported Monday that workers at the two nuclear facilities in Mayak and Arzamas-16 had already gone on strike. Both facilities are involved in the Russian nuclear weapons program. According to The Moscow Times, nuclear workers from all over the country will join in a round of protests in Moscow this week. The Russian Union of Nuclear Industry Workers says that hungry nuclear workers and lack of funding could lead to a nuclear accident and the collapse of Russia’s nuclear defense industry.

The Union says that its members will stop work altogether if, after Wednesday’s one-hour strike, they do not receive their back pay. Nuclear industry workers have gone without salary from three to ten months. More and more nuclear industry workers are included in the list of unpaid employees. Last week, Bellona Web reported that the employees at the nuclear-powered ice-breaker base "Atomflot" in Murmansk and the shipyard workers in Severodvinsk have not received their salaries since July.

The state owes more than $421 million in back pay The state owes more than $421 million in back pay to workers in the nuclear defense sector. In addition, employees at the civilian nuclear power plants are also protesting due to lack of salaries.