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Workers at a metal plant in Russia's Far East have received
Workers at a metal plant in Russia's Far East have received some pay after 24 employees, who have not received any pay for three months, went on hunger strike, a regional trade union official said on Friday.

On Wednesday, 17 workers went on hunger strike and were later joined by others at the tungsten production plant in the village of Svetlogorye. The workers are demanding some three million rubles (about $127,000) in back pay.

"Each of the plant's employees also received 7,000 rubles [$300] in financial aid, allocated from the regional budget," the official said.

Medics have been closely monitoring the health of the protesters. On Tuesday one of the workers was hospitalized with high blood pressure, while two more women, who also have health problems, refused to be admitted to a hospital, but were given medical treatment at the factory.

The plant employs 300 workers, which is about half of the town's population. With workers receiving their last pay packet in February, people have been struggling to buy basic foods and medicines.

The plant producing tungsten concentrate, opened in 1985 after a vast deposit was discovered in the area. The factory has been hit by ownership problems with the plant changing hands on a number of occasions over the past five years. A recent sale of the factory by the current owners Russkiy Volfram, who briefly had its assets frozen last March, was ruled unlawful by a court.

China is the world's largest exporter and consumer of tungsten which is used mainly in electrical appliances.


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