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ST. PETERSBURG, January 15. /TASS/. Russian prosecutors are investigating media reports about massive violations of workers' rights as several outlets of US fast-food chain have been shut down in the country’s second largest city of St. Petersburg this week.
“All the facts presented in media reports will be verified, including allegations that employees have been forced to resign and have not been fully paid, as well as other labour violations,” Marina Nikolayeva, senior aide to the city prosecutor, told TASS on Wednesday.
State prosecutors in St. Petersburg launched the probe just a few days after Bright Star LLC, master franchisee and operator of Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Russia, announced the closure of the fast-food chain’s outlets in three major Russian cities, citing “the difficult economic situation” in the country.
The restaurants listed for closure included some 26 branches in the “northern capital”, which employed about 800 people, alongside four outlets in Novosibirsk and one in Krasnodar, a representative for the Carl's Jr. franchisee said on Monday, noting that the chain’s locations in other Russian regions would continue to work.
Established more than 70 years ago in Southern California, Carl’s Jr. operates over 3,400 restaurants around the world, including nearly 50 locations in Russia. After the chain withdraws from the market in St. Petersburg, Krasnodar and Novosibirsk, some 17 outlets will be left in Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Saratov, Kemerovo, the Moscow region and several other cities. In 2014, the company already closed three restaurants in St. Petersburg and three more in Novosibirsk.
Russia's first Carl's Jr. restaurant appeared in the city of St. Petersburg in early 2006. In 2011, the company expanded into the country's third-largest city of Novosibirsk, being the first among global fast-food chains to enter the capital of Siberia. Hamburger chain Burger King opened its first restaurants there in 2013. McDonald's chain started expanding to Siberia in 2014.