Teacher dies in pay protest

4th December 1998 at 00:00
A RUSSIAN primary school teacher has died after staging a hunger strike in a protest over unpaid wages, writes Simon Pirani.

Aleksandr Motorin, 43, refused food for 10 days. He started eating again but died at his home in Ulianovsk in the Volga region.

Two days have been set aside for memorial classes at Ulianovsk's primary No 20, the school where Motorin had worked, to explain to children why he died.

After his death local teachers who were owed four months' pay were paid 120 roubles (Pounds 4.45) each, about a third of a month's salary. About 450 staff from 10 schools, including Motorin, refused food after a strike failed.

Last month new Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov promised to tackle the wage arrears scandal which affects millions of public servants.

However, Marina Sporikhina of the Education Workers' Trade Union said that money for wages which was sent to local authorities often ended up elsewhere. "The local authorities use the money for whatever they please - and that is how we end up with conflicts like that at Ulianovsk."

Several of Motorin's colleagues are reported to be seriously ill and more than 100 other Russian teachers are also on hunger strike.

International, 18

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