Report on struggles for unpaid wages in Russia and Ukraine in 2021

The situation of a de facto "sanitary dictatorship" and a ban on holding public demonstrations, like last year, force KRAS to refuse to hold any street actions, including within the framework of this campaign against non-payment of wages. In these conditions, we limit ourselves to disseminating information about conflicts related to non-payment of wages and about the experience of resistance and to promote the current international campaign.


In Russia, non-payment of wages in one form or another is the main cause of labour conflicts. According to the incomplete, but characteristic statistics of the Monitoring of Labour Protests, in 2020, about 49% of labour conflicts were in one way or another associated with non-payment of wages, and medical workers were especially active in seeking payment of epidemic allowances. In the first quarter of 2021, non-payment of wages was the cause of 36% of labour conflicts. Like labour protests arising for other reasons, these protests are mostly spontaneous and independent of any parties and trade unions (

Here are some typical examples of labour conflicts due to non-payment of wages this year:

March: Strike of workers of the reinforced concrete plant # 1 in Sterlitamak (Bashkiria). The workers have not received their wages since December 2020.The total debt to 250 workers amounted to more than 3 million rubles. After the strike, the director of the plant sold his car to pay off the debt to the workers.

March 25: Construction workers strike near Arzamas (Nizhny Novgorod region). Reason: non-payment of wages for two months and unsanitary living conditions. The workers were brought from Moscow, but they were not provided with appropriate conditions. The hiring of workers was carried out through subcontractors, without a firm contract. Since the road under construction is of strategic importance, the prosecutor's office and the labour inspectorate intervened in the conflict. On March 28, workers began to pay their wage arrears in exchange for abandoning other claims. The head of the construction site was fired (

April 21: Strike of 100-150 workers of the leading construction company of the North Kuril region - Spiro LLC. In the morning, the brigades simultaneously left the facilities and headed to the office of their superiors. Employees are tired of enduring a three-month salary delay, lack of uniforms, adequate housing and quality food. The workers went to storm the office. These are mainly migrant workers. Negotiations with government officials, the employer, and the prosecutor's office were unsuccessful, but local authorities arranged for temporary accommodation and delivery of food to the strikers. A few days later, the workers who agreed to quit were transferred to other construction sites (

April 26: Good example of the effectiveness of direct action. Construction worker Yuri Yakovlev in Rostov-on-Don, who had not received a salary for two months, locked himself in the tower of a construction crane, thereby carrying out the act of the occupation strike. He went on a hunger strike and refused to leave his workplace until he was paid money - 170 thousand rubles. The worker disseminated information about his protest on the Internet as a video diary. Initially, it was assumed that two people would take turns in the protest action, but this was not done. After 1.5 days, the company-developer "MSK" intervened, which itself paid most of the money, bypassing the contractor-employer "Polyus" (

May: Part of the labor collective of the Khabarovsk Ship Engineering Plant (Khabsudmash) is on strike. The plant is in a state of bankruptcy, partially idle, workers have not received their salaries for 9 months. Employees have ceased to be paid in full salaries since July of 2020. Since then, money has been given in parts. The debt of the enterprise to employees for 9 months increased to 43 million rubles. After the strike, the administration of the enterprise began to partially pay off the wage arrears (

August 26: Workers at the “Smart Retail” distribution center in Rostov-on-Don hold a wild strike. For several months, the firm experienced delays in the payment of wages. On August 25, the team did not receive any money at all: the next day, the workers were collected and announced that they had forgotten to submit documents in the office, and there would be no salary at all. A comrade from KRAS working in the center was campaigning for the strike. As a result, the warehouse did not work for several hours. After 13.00 the director came and promptly paid the money. It was possible to achieve official registration of those who worked unofficially, although the issue has not been finally resolved. The administration also tried not to pay for the strike, but was rebuffed. However, as comrades report, pressure on activists and possible reprisals against the "instigators" are still not ruled out (


The anarchists of Ukraine, with whom we maintain informational ties, regularly inform us that in their country, non-payment of wages is one of the main causes of labor conflicts.
In Mariupol, workers of the Azov shipyard blocked the roads on February 26, March 4 and 6, demanding payment of wage arrears (

March 1: In Kharkiv, workers at the Electrotyazhmash plant, which is in a difficult financial situation and switched to part-time work, blocked the road, having secured the payment of wage arrears for December and January (

March: In Sumy, workers of the Slovo machine-building plant blocked the road: the administration of the enterprise owed money to 4 thousand workers (
On March 11, former workers of the Sumy Research and Production Association held a protest at the building of the regional prosecutor's office, demanding to force the owner to pay them their wage arrears (

April 6: Strike by miners of the Stepova mine (Lviv region). The reason was non-payment of wages. The salary arrears at the mine amounted to UAH 41 million. On April 26, the miners again refused to go down into the mine and went by road to the city of Sokal to the State Enterprise "Lvivugil".

April 8: In Novogrodovka, Donetsk Oblast, workers at the 1-3 Novogrodovskaya mine go on strike with their families to protest the non-payment of February wages and 27% of January wages. From about 17:00 to 21:00, traffic was blocked at the intersection of streets. After the meeting of the protesters with the arrived managers of the mine on April 9, the remainder of the salary for January was listed (

April 15: Hundreds of employees of the Kharkov Aviation Plant occupied a pedestrian crossing on the highway, blocking traffic for an hour. The protesters demanded that the administration of the enterprise pay off wage arrears. Since December 2014, the amount of debt has already reached UAH 256 million ( On May 1, it was announced that they had paid off the debt for two months of 2020.

April 25: Eight miners from the Novogrodovskaya mine (Donetsk region) refused to go down the face, demanding repayment of the February and March debt. The mine as a whole did not stop working (

April: Strike at the Gorskaya mine in the Luhansk region. 14 miners went down and stayed there. They are accompanied by a doctor and a specialist of the mine rescue service. Second shift miners support the protest on the surface. Miners' demands: payment of wage arrears amounting to UAH 127.8 million and improvement of working conditions (

May 12: Groups of miners from Luhansk, Donetsk and Lviv regions picketed the office of the President of Ukraine, the Ministry of Energy and Internal Affairs in Kiev. They demanded to pay off wage arrears, improve working conditions and stop the destruction of the industry. The picket was organized by the officious "Independent Trade Union of Miners", and therefore the action was of a very moderate nature. Initially, it was announced as an indefinite one, but was terminated after a meeting with representatives of the authorities, who fed the guests with various promises. However, even before the campaign, the Ministry of Energy announced that in the near future 836.5 million hryvnia would be transferred to the accounts of coal mining enterprises (

June 3: Workers at the Gorelektrotrans tram depot in Kharkiv held a picket protesting against non-payment of wages since March, poor working conditions and lack of contributions to the pension fund. The protesters gathered in front of the City Hall in the morning (

June 17: About fifty medical workers went to the mayor's office in Valki (Kharkiv region), demanding to pay them the money they earned in the amount of 8 million hryvnia. Workers did not receive wages for May and supplements for work amid the epidemic in April and May. They complain about mafia funding schemes, in which the allocated funds end up in the pockets of hospital management and those close to them. The mayor of the city promised to consider at the July session the issue of revising the budget, the regional administration promised to repay the debt as soon as possible (

June: Employees of the state-owned company VostGOK, which owns uranium mines in the Kirovograd region, held a protest at the office of the President of Ukraine in Kiev. On June 15, the miners announced the start of an indefinite protest and blocked traffic on the highway near the villages of Berezhinka and Smolino until 19:00; As a result, they managed to secure the allocation of 129 million hryvnias from the state budget as a partial payment of wage arrears.

July 8: The workers of the uranium mines of the Kirovograd region began to strike. They demand payment of wage arrears. Strikers from the state mines "Smolinskaya" and "Novokonstantinovskaya" blocked traffic near the village of Smolino. The next day, they were joined by workers from the Ingulskaya mine. On July 13, the miners refused to go underground and blocked the highway near the village of Berezhinka (

July: In Valki, about 150 medical workers blocked the international highway for an hour, demanding the payment of three-month wage arrears, which have already reached 5.8 million hryvnia. The outrage was fueled by rumors about the impending closure of the hospital. Officials and hospital officials denied the closure reports and promised to pay the money for half of May and June. But the hospital still faces a 40-50% staff cut (

End of July: the labour collective of the hospital No. 8 in the Dnipropetrovsk region voted for a strike if the wage arrears are not paid. They had not received any money for the second month. Officially, the delay was explained by the upcoming reorganization of the medical institution (

August 4: Hundreds of miners held a rally in front of the administration building of the Lviv region, demanding payment of wage arrears in the amount of about 300 million hryvnia. Knocking helmets on the asphalt, the protesters chanted "Shame!" The action was organized by the Independent Trade Union of Miners. The representative of the administration who came out said that the government of the country should decide the issue (

On August 5, about 50 employees of the Monastery Hospital in the Ternopil region held a protest at the surgical department and blocked the road. They sought payment of wages for July, sick pay and a general increase in wages (

August 12: 18 employees of the Sosnovka city hospital in Chervonograd district (Lviv region) went on a hunger strike. Wage arrears in the hospital have been accumulating since April. Doctors make hunger strike in the workplace, while the hospital continues to work. The protesters demand the payment of wage arrears through July 2021 inclusive, in addition, they demand "covid" additional payments, as well as health benefits for the current year, recalculation of salaries for 2020 and compensation for the loss of part of the salary due to violation of the terms of its payment (

August 13: Near the building of the North-Eastern Interregional Directorate of the Ministry of Justice in Sumy, a picket was held by about 100 former employees of the Research and Production Association, demanding to comply with a court decision on payment of wage arrears for several months. In early September, there were reports that the head of the department of enforcement of decisions was arrested for abuse, and the debt to former employees was paid (

August 16: Medical workers in Slavyansk (Donetsk region) held a rally outside the City Clinical Hospital, demanding the payment of wage arrears from June. Having not received a positive answer, they blocked the highway on August 23 ( After the protests, the National Health Service of Ukraine transferred 6 million hryvnia to pay off salary debts to doctors in Slavyansk.

On August 29, in Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region, near the Oskol restaurant, a protest action by employees of the Kupyansk territorial medical association was held. The participants blocked the carriageway for some time. The protesters raised the issues of paying off wage arrears and bonuses, raising salaries, providing the institution with medicines and updating the material and technical base. Local authorities said that the money had already been allocated to the doctors, but had not yet reached them due to technical problems (

September 2: In Dolyna (Ivano-Frankivsk region), teachers from 20 of 26 schools went on strike; the educational process was stopped. The strike involved about 900 teachers, outraged by the accumulated wage arrears in the amount of approx. UAH 20 million. Problems with salaries arose back in June and were the result of merger and education “optimization” processes. Trade union bosses persuaded teachers to suspend the strike, promising that the authorities would solve the problem by September 20. They reported that as of September 3, they had already paid vacation money to 18 schools. The teachers were promised to pay also the arrears for August and the advance for September. The strike was ended (

September 6: Employees of the Kharkov Aviation Plant held a protest march in the center of Kharkov and a rally on Independence Square. The event was organized by the official trade union. The plant is in deep crisis: it works 4 hours a week, and idle workers receive two-thirds of their wages. This was already the second protest action since April demanding to pay off the wage arrears. At the moment it is 260 million hryvnia. After a meeting with representatives of the management of the enterprise on the territory of the plant, about 50 people marched to the regional administration, where they handed over the demands of the acting. governor. He promised to hold negotiations with the director and the trade union committee. Some of the eyewitnesses on social networks criticized the official "director-trade union" rally, recalling that such events are of a duty nature and do not frighten anyone (



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