Trash pickup drivers went on strike in mid-April in Novosibirsk, in south central Russia, after they discovered their bosses — the Eco-Trans-N complex — had lost their fleet of 86 trucks for unpaid debts. Company officials told them they would be given 22 smaller trucks, and were required to work double-time with no increase in pay.
“The trucks they gave us are not equipped with scoops or brush cleaners. We can’t drive them through narrow courtyards or streets,” one striking worker told local news outlet Sib.fm. “We aren’t refusing to work, it’s that we’re not being provided with conditions in which we can work.”
Novosibirsk may be in Siberia, but it’s not a small city, 1.5 million people live there.
As garbage piles up, local residents are demanding the city government do something. But outside of complaining themselves, nothing is being done.
It turns out the company isn’t bankrupt. In fact it’s part of the economic empire of Russian businessman Igor Sungurov, who has an estimated net worth of $600 million. Local authorities are nervous about taking him on.
The strike and crisis for residents in Novosibirsk takes place as Moscow is conducting a brutal war against Ukraine independence. If that war was truly popular in Russia, workers would be heeding calls by authorities to shut up, get back to work and “sacrifice” to defend the motherland.