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Lada manufacturer wants to use prisoners in production

The Russian car manufacturer Avtovaz lacks workers – the gaps are apparently supposed to be closed by convicts. The prison administration in the Samara region said Avtovaz had called in prisoners sentenced to hard labour.

Russia’s largest automaker Avtovaz wants to fill gaps in its workforce with convicts. The prison administration in the industrial region of Samara announced today that the Lada manufacturer had asked for the allocation of prisoners who had been sentenced to forced labor because of the extremely tense situation on the labor market.

Like many other companies in Russia, Avtovaz is struggling with a labor shortage. The Russian labor market is practically full. The unemployment rate fell to a record low of 3.3 percent in April. As a result of the Ukraine war, hundreds of thousands of men were drafted into the military and many others fled abroad.

Auto industry suffers from sanctions

This collides with the ambitious goals of the Russian carmaker: Avtovaz wants to increase its production by 28 percent from September and by 40 percent from January next year, the statement said. The company, based in Togliatti, in the Samara region, named after an Italian communist, declined to comment on achieving the goals using forced labourers.

The Russian auto industry is gradually recovering from last year’s historic slump. After Russia attacked Ukraine, Russian car production fell to 450,000 cars last year, partly because of western economic sanctions. That was the lowest level since the end of the Soviet Union. Several Western manufacturers have pulled out of the country, including former Avtovaz majority shareholder Renault.

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