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30 Sep 2021

Kanat Altynbayev, Caravanserai

Kyrgyz workers demand 16 months' back wages from Chinese company

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30 September 2021

...Workers are demanding almost a year and a half of back wages from the Longhai Road and Bridge Corporation for work on the unfinished Balykchy–Korumdu highway along Lake Issyk-Kul. The Chinese company in 2015 won the tender to construct the 104km-long road by the end of 2017...

About 20km of the road remains unbuilt, but cracks already are appearing on the surface of the completed portion. The project is progressing at a snail's pace, as disheartened workers frequently refuse to come in. In 2019, local workers complained that the company had stopped paying their salaries, and payment problems have resurfaced.

On September 21, a group of 25 construction workers traveled to Bishkek to complain directly to Deputy Minister of Transport Nurlanbek Kaiynbayev and Baktiyar Orozov, the cabinet official in charge of the human rights portfolio, 24.kg reported.

Bakyt Aidarkanov, a road safety inspector, told reporters that he and 18 other workers have gone unpaid for 16 months and that the company owed money to a total of 120 workers...