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Kazakh Oil-Industry Workers On Strike For Pay Rise

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QALAMQAS, Kazakhstan Dozens of oil-industry workers began a strike at the Qalamqas oil field in Kazakhstan’s western region of Manghystau on May 7, demanding higher wages.

Strikers told RFE/RL that they will resume work only if their demands are fully met.

The workers of Kazpromlogistic company, who maintain the oil pipelines, demand their salaries be doubled and work conditions be improved.

Strikes by workers in the oil, copper, and coal industries in Kazakhstan have become frequent across Kazakhstan in recent years.

In November and December, hundreds of miners at copper and coal mines in central Kazakhstan were on strike demanding salary increases and better social security for retirees.

In January last year, hundreds of workers at the Oil Construction Company held a two-week strike to protest the closure of a labor-union alliance.

Oil and gas revenues are crucial for Kazakhstan’s economy and budget, and strongman President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s government tolerates little dissent.

Critics say the government has been subjecting labor unions to pressure since deadly protests staged by oil workers in western Kazakhstan in 2011.

After a monthslong protest, at least 16 workers were killed by police in the oil town of Zhanaozen on December 16 and 17, 2011.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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