Vendors at Homyel shopping center stage one-day walkout to protest rent rise
Vendors who sell goods at a shopping center in Homyel walked off the job on Tuesday to protest a nearly triple increase in stall rent.
Stallholders have been required to pay 120 euros per square meter in rent every month, up from the previous rent rate of 45 to 55 euros.
The vendors also accuse the new owner of the shopping center - a private company called NP-Service - of tricking them into signing new rent contracts.
The vendors signed a petition urging the police to investigate the owner's actions.
Anatol Shumchanka, leader of the Perspektyva small business association, visited the shopping center on the day of the walkout, promising assistance to the disgruntled vendors.
"The landlord will be raising the rent until it sees an outflow of vendors, which would mean bankruptcy for it," he said. "Who would benefit if the shopping center were closed down? Neither you, nor us, nor the government would. We have taken extreme measures because the situation has reached the boiling point. People here had power switched off, were blackmailed. Goods worth thousands of dollars have been imported, where will they sell them?"
The vendors' petition was delivered to the Tsentralny district police department. //