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61 Chinese workers return after dispute


08:42, July 08, 2013

Employees of Russian company say they did not receive promised wages

All 61 workers who hid on a mountain in southern Russia for more than two days after a employment dispute have been properly settled.

The construction company that employs them is cooperating with government officials from China and diplomats from the Chinese embassy in Russia to investigate the dispute, an employee at the construction company who gave her name as Zhou told China Daily on Sunday.

The workers were transferred from the mountain in Kemerovo and properly settled on Friday after efforts from government departments of Heilongjiang province and the Chinese embassy in Russia, People's Daily quoted the local publicity department as saying on Sunday.

The workers are staying at a local church and are in good condition, and efforts are under way to send them back to China, according to media reports.

The incident attracted public attention after an online post said that about 200 migrant workers from Suihua, in Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia, were abused at a construction project in Russia and did not receive the wages they were promised. They also feared for their safety and were forced to flee to the mountain to seek refuge, it said.

Online photos showed workers wearing thick clothes and sitting on mud in a forest.

Authorities have not confirmed the reason the workers fled, but family members in Xichangfa township, Suihua, said they did not receive the salaries they were promised.

Wang Xibo, 63, of Dongbeiyi village, in Xichangfa township, said his nephew, Zhang Wanchun, was one of the workers who was trapped in Russia.

Wang said Zhang, a carpenter, went to Russia in April for work at the suggestion of a construction contractor in the province's Hegang.

"The contractor promised Zhang that he could earn 20,000 yuan a month ($3,200), and some of Zhang's relatives also followed him to Russia," Wang said. "But nearly three months have passed, and they haven't got any pay."

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