Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/458/5512
Kazakhstan - appeal for support
25,000 coal miners on strike
MINERS EMPLOYED by the 'Mittal Steel Temirtau' company in Kazakhstan (a branch of the international corporation 'Arcelor Mittal') went on strike on 25 September.
Members of Socialist Resistance (CWI Kazakhstan)
The workers' are demanding wage rises and a lower retirement age - currently they are on $250-$300 a month. The strike began after the death of 41 miners because of poor working conditions.
The strike began despite the "advice" of the official trade union, 'Korgau', not to take militant action. Now the miners are trying to organise from below.
Socialist Resistance fully supports the miners and calls for fighting, democratic trade unions, and for the nationalisation of the mines and metallurgical industry in Kazakhstan.
This is the first miners' strike on such a scale, since 1989. Currently, 25,000 miners are on strike. The strike is also supported by workers in the Karaganda metallurgical industry, who have their own battles to fight. These workers held a mass meeting on 30 September, in Temirtau city and demanded a 40% wage rise.
The striking miners are taking courageous action and flexing their industrial power, but they need international moral and political support. The official trade union leaders and the local city and regional authorities, are trying to divide the workers. Permanent surveillance of striking miners takes place. The government-run mass media constantly puts out misinformation about the strikers. We appeal for telegrams and letters of solidarity to be sent to the striking miners' 'unofficial' leader, Pavel Shumkin, who was well-known as a miners' leader during the 1989 strikes.
Contact Pavel Shumkin at: Loboda St., 13, Apt. 49, 100000, Karaganda, Republic of Kazakhstan. Phone ++7 3212 41 36 04, mobile ++7 705 574 75 91. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send copies to 'Socialist Resistance (Kazakhstan), email:
A solidarity fund has been established, see the website:
We also ask you to contact trade unions in other 'Arcelor Mittal' plants in 16 countries across the world, including in the Czech Republic, Canada, and the USA. Arcelor Mittal's policy of brutal labour conditions and low pay is also practised at the 'Krivorozhstal' company in the Ukraine, and in Romania.
An explosive situation is developing in Kazakhstan. A wave of strikes, and the appearance of new fighting trade unions, can sweep the country, especially if this dispute is won. Socialists, trade unions and activists everywhere must support the miners in Kazakhstan. Only through solidarity and by common struggle can we defend our rights and win real victories!
In The Socialist 12 October 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news