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Kazakhstan: Striking oil workers attempt to break news blockade
Further threats made against strike leaders and supporters
CWI reporters, Moscow
Oil workers' strikes in West Kazakhstan are now into their second month of taking strike action. The employers appear to have decided to hold back from more repression and instead are attempting to exhaust the workers. The Kazakhstan media are putting forward a wave of propaganda in an attempt to undermine support for the strike, claiming that most workers have "returned to work".
In an attempt to break the press refusal to cover the strike, at the invitation of the Russian section of the CWI, a delegation of strikers visited Moscow this week and met with trade unionists and reporters.
In a live video link with Peter Taaffe from the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales), the delegation heard of the international support organised by other sections of the CWI for their dispute.
Also, Moscow News, the main central Asian news site Fergana.ru and the Reuters news agency all covered the story.
While the delegation was in Moscow, news came through that a further 300 workers were sacked and that Kuanysha Sisenbaeva, the strike leader from Karazhanbas was taken to court and charged with organising illegal pickets and demonstrations. This is against the background of reports that the riot police are amassing in the oil producing areas.
The authorities are clearly getting desperate. In Almaty, the largest city, they no longer even pretend to hold fair law court hearings. It took three judges just three minutes to expel a cameraman from a court room and to go on to 'hear' evidence from the prosecutors' office, the appeal of mortgage debtors against five breaches of law during a trial against them in a lower court and to write and read out the verdict - which, of course, supported the banks. This is an example of injustice that is startling even by Kazakhstan's record.
Even more worrying is the letter printed by the 'Respublika' newspaper, which reveals that a meeting of foreign investors was recently held at which they were ordered by the government to sort out the 'social conflicts' in their corporations. But rather than promise to pay higher wages and to improve social conditions to resolve workers' grievances, the government and corporations promised to 'weed out' the "trouble makers" amongst the workforce.
According to Respublika, first on the list is Ainur Kurmanov, whose organisation, Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, is the main opponent of injustice and inequality. It appears Ainur is now followed in the streets by not just by the Komitetshiki (the political police) but also by the security forces belonging to the corporations.
Please send solidarity messages to:
firstname.lastname@example.org with copies to Robert.email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Protests should be sent to:
Embassy of Kazakhstan in United Kingdom - Thurloe Square, London SW7 2SD; 020 7581 4646 - 020 7584 8481 email@example.com
In The Socialist 6 July 2011:
30th June strike and after
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