In Appeals

Protesting oil-workers appeal to workers throughout the world

The striking oil workers and other residents of the Mangystau region in West Kazakhstan have sent the following appeal. They have already collected over ten thousand signatures in the region in support of a petition calling for the resignation of the top management of the oil company “OzenMunaiGaz”, the city’s prosecutor and the mayor. They are demanding the immediate start of negotiations. Several thousand workers in the city have also signed a statement declaring that their children will stay away from school in protest at the repression and mass sackings that have taken place. They are now asking their supporters in other parts of the world to join their initiative by signing the attached petition. 

Open Appeal

 

From the strikers, sacked workers and residents
of the Mangystau region oblast of West Kazakhstan:
 
Dear comrade workers, miners, energy workers, metallurgists, railway and transport workers, civil servants and oil workers!

We, oil workers and residents of the Mangystau region, who as a result of the actions of the employers, have been forced into a struggle for our rights and a better life, appeal to you to express your solidarity and for you to use your influence in any way you can to support us.

For over six months now our strike and peaceful protest has continued against ruthless exploitation, repression and humiliation by the authorities in the Mangystau region  and the employers from the oil sector.

Our fully lawful demands to the employer consist of increasing our wages, improving living and work conditions and for an end to interference by the authorities in the work of our trade union organisations.  As a result, through no fault of ours, a bitter social conflict, unprecedented both in scale and length, has broken out in the region.

The authorities, without thinking of their social responsibility before the people, in particular those who work, and without thinking of the consequences, have stepped in to defend the employers’ interests.

Natalia Sokolova, the lawyer defending our interests, has been charged with trumped up accusations of stirring up social conflict and has been sentenced to six years in prison. Dozens of other trade union and workers’ leaders have been charged with ‘administrative’ offences. Over 2,500 workers have been illegally sacked and thrown out onto the streets. Hired bandits have burned down homes, beaten and sometimes killed activists and members of their families.  The strikers have been placed under colossal psychological pressure, repression and harassment. There are attempts to undermine the morale of the workers by trying to divide the strikers from those in work and by trying to spread ethnic division between local people and those who have come from neighbouring regions and Kazakhs who have returned from neighbouring countries such as Turkmenistan.

We appeal to all thinking citizens and workers to support the demands of the workers and residents of Mangystau region:

  1. Freedom for Natalia Sokolova;
  2. Cancel all charges against worker and trade union activists;
  3. Recognition by the authorities of the strike and lock-out and the re-instatement of all those sacked without exception;
  4. Improvement in the conditions of living and work, improved wages and the introduction of regional and dangerous work coefficients;
  5. Compensation for the loss of wages during the strike;
  6. An independent investigation with sanctions against and the sacking of all bureaucrats and employers whose actions have caused the social conflict as reflected in the arbitrary discrimination and humiliations, including the bandit attacks, beatings and the brutal murder of workers and members of their families;
  7. Nationalisation (return into state ownership under workers’ control) of all enterprises in the oil extraction sector, where the employers and owners have failed to meet their social responsibilities before the workers, do not recognise the trade unions and interfere in their work and refuse to guarantee decent wages and working conditions.

Dear Workers!

In making this appeal to you we are hoping for real support for our just demands.

Our struggle has shown that injustice and illegality can only be conquered by uniting our forces. In this difficult situation, the best support and course of action is to create independent trade unions in the localities and to present unified demands. We call for an increase in wages, better living and work conditions and an end to interference by the employers in trade union matters. By uniting in such a way, these trade unions can become a firm basis for the creation of a strong and united national independent trade union for all the workers ofKazakhstan.

At the same time we need to establish our own, mass party for all working people which differs from other political parties inKazakhstan. It will, in deeds, not just in words, be able to stand up for the interests of the working class, our families and our children.

Our main ideology should be genuine internationalism, collectivism, solidarity, respect for work and a striving for social justice.

Now our children, not having the possibility of going to school, are standing together with us in “Independence Square” in Zhanaozen with an icy wind blowing along the streets under an open sky. Notwithstanding all the repression, pressure, attempts to scare us, our protest is purely peaceful.  And we will stay here till the bitter end; we refuse to give up our lawful and just demands guaranteed by the constitution ofKazakhstan.

We are particularly grateful for the support for our strike from the international trade unions and workers’ movement of the whole planet. We can see how the struggle of the ordinary working person is now unfolding over all continents!

With respect and hope, we ask you to take our message into your workforces, organise a collection of signatures and support our just demands.

 

Completed petitions and messages of solidarity can be sent to:

Otekeeva0103@mail.ru with copies to kazakhstansolidarity@gmail.com

 

 Petition in support of oil workers and residents of Mangystau

We, the undersigned, express our full support for the protesting oil workers and residents of Mangystau and the demands which they sent to the authorities in Kazakhstan in their open letter on 30th October 2011.

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