Главная » Без рубрики » Strike of oil industry workers proceeds solidarity is necessary

On March 4, 2010, ten thousand oil workers in the city of Zhanaozen (in Western Kazakhstan) went on strike. This is almost one hundred percent of personnel in the drilling and exploration division of state company KazMunayGas, which was privatized and is now owned by Timur Kulibayev, son-in-law of Kazakh president Nazarbayev. Twenty activists have announced they will go on indefinite hunger strike. The workers demand improved working conditions and wage increases, as well as a reversal of the privatization of their division.

On March 4th, three thousand workers demonstrated at the bus station in the city, where they leave for shifts in the oil fields. They announced their demands to company management and the Kazakh government. They also elected a strike committee and decided to form an independent trade union. As a result of the strike, shipment of oil has been completely halted.

The oil workers previously struck in November 2009. That strike included mass demonstrations and a hunger strike by dozens of activists. Despite a number of promises, workers’ demands were not met. They are outraged by hellish working conditions, unreasonable performance norms, and low wages, as well as by worn-out equipment that management buys used but passes off as new.

The workers are convinced their problems are caused by privatization and the corruption of company management. Their principal demands are the return of all privately held company shares to the state, and worker control over the tendering process, equipment purchases, and spending of revenues. The workers have voiced their distrust of management and seek direct negotiations with the Kazakh government. They also threaten to escalate the conflict if strike leaders are arrested or attempts are made to end the strike by force.

On March 11, a court ruled the strike illegal after management petitioned it. Zhanaozen has been cordoned off by Interior Ministry troops, but the strikers are determined to press on. You can show them your support by writing to:

[email protected]

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