Kaunas workers continue hunger strike after exam

  • 2000-03-23
  • By Darius James Ross
VILNIUS – On March 18 the three former employees of bankrupt Inkaras shoe manufacturer who have vowed a hunger strike to the death if necessary, were driven to a medical clinic for examination. It was their 13th day of drinking only mineral water.

Inkaras' 90 workers say they are owed over one year's back pay and alleged that the owners pocketed millions of litas illegally.

After examination, all three reaffirmed their vow to continue the strike and were driven back to their tent outside the factory.

"The union leaders are playing with these people's health and even their lives," said outgoing Conservative Mayor Henrikas Tamulis as reported in Kaunas daily Kauno Diena. "We may have to resort to forced hospitaliztion," he said.

Tamulis suggested that the other Inkaras workers should act as substitutes and give the three hunger strikers a break. He said also that if the worst were to happen, the union would be responsible. Tamulis had the workers unemployment benefits hand delivered to them. The workers are demanding the government investigate Inkaras owners. The city government has said that it can do nothing. The national government has issued only vague statements about possible investigations by state prosecutors.