Kazakh Oil Workers Extend Hunger Strike After Union Shut

Kazakhstan Risks Backlash Over Labor Crackdown

Kazakh oil company workers extended their hunger strike into a fifth day, as they seek to overturn a court decision to close their union. (RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service)

Two protests were held in the western region of Kazakhstan, News agency Ferghana reported.

The first protest took place in a rented room of Merey hotel in Mangistau region. Dozens of oil workers of Techno Trading LTD company expressed their dissatisfaction with working conditions. After short presentation they announced the start of an indefinite hunger strike.

Another action took place the same day in Aktau. A few dozen employees of Oil Construction Company (OCC) have applied to the city administration to hold an indefinite hunger strike from January 15.

Oil Construction Company in Aktau oil workers demanding the registration of the Confederation of Independent Trade Republican hunger strike for five days, writes Radio Azattyq.

Some of the oil workers’ health began to fail. They say, they are not going to famine conditions are met. Aktau, January 9, 2017.

Zhanaozen was the site of a strike in 2011 that led to protests and ended in violence when security forces tried to clear protesters from the town’s square in preparation for Independence day celebrations on December 16, 2011. More than a dozen people were killed when security forces fired on the protestors and the political fallout included arrests and trials of activists and media restrictions. In a letter to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev dated July 2012, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (who had began advising the Kazakh government in November 2011, reportedly for millions) wrote that the deaths of 14 protesters “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress” Kazakhstan had made.

Needless to say, Striking oil workers is never a good sign in Kazakhstan, which rode immense oil wealth into modernity over the last 25 years.