– Joe Higgins TD says not enough being done for falsely imprisoned human rights lawyer.
Video report of exchanges in parliament
Below is the video from Campaign Kazakhstan of the event that the campaign co-hosted with Article 19 on December 17 2013
A mass gathering of hundreds of miners and other workers, launching the Limpopo section of the South African ‘Workers’ And Socialist Party’, loudly approved a message of support and solidarity for all struggling miners and oil-workers in Kazakhstan.
Below is a model message of protest – please send yours to the Kazakhstan embassy in your country (which you can find here http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/kazakhstan ) and include firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
I am writing this letter of protest at the vicious devastation of the community of workers in Zhezkazgan that the closing down of KazakhMys plants in the area would mean. This is a plan hatched in the cold and calculating interest of short-term profit, disregarding the livelihoods of the workers in the area.
I fully support the demands of the workers there for the plant to be nationalised and taken into democratic workers’ control. It is those workers who put the work in and who depend on the factory; they should decide on the future of the plants and what it produces.
The workers in Zhezkazgan are planning a mass demonstration on 6 July. Previous protests in Kazakhstan have been met with brutal repression and collusion between government state forces, most infamously the police massacre in Zhanaozen.
Rosa Tulataeva, a leading figure in the peaceful workers’ protests in Zhanaozen is still in jail, sentenced for many years, and denied proper access to medicine. Vadim Kuramshin was locked away effectively without trial. Aron Atabek is in solitary confinement because of his political opposition to the regime, alongside many other political prisoners.
Much as President Nazarbayev tries to deny it, his regime has a record of locking away and quashing dissent – we won’t let it happen this time.
We will be keeping a close eye on developments on Saturday and will do everything in our power to stop another brutal blood-letting organised between business and government. Across Europe the profile of Kazakhstan is high because of recent visits by EC president Barroso and British PM Cameron. If anything happens to the protestors in Zhezkazgan this publicity will translate into much more opposition to your regime, and Campaign Kazakhstan will be a vital part of that.
Yours in protest,
Workers demand nationalisation not ‘conservation’ of KazakhMys
On the morning of 24June, hundreds of angry Zhezkazgan residents gathered outside the metal foundry of London-based company KazakMys. They feared for the future of their town on hearing that the corporation had decided to “place the plant in conservation”. The workers see this as management planning to close the factory. In response, they demanded that it, and other companies owned by KazakhMys in Zhezkazgan and Satpaev, be nationalised, to prevent these two towns being turned into ghost towns.
“Just as smoke from a house chimney is a sign of life in the home, so the smoke from its factory chimneys is the sign of life in Zhezkazgan”, wrote Berik Zhagiparov, a local member of the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan. (Berik was editor of the paper ‘Molodezhnaya Gazeta’ before it was closed down this year and has been arrested and detained twice in the last few months for being involved in protest demonstrations.)
Just over a week ago, the General Director of the holding company, KazakhMys Smelting, announced that the factory was to shut on 1 September. He said that 200 white collar staff would be given work in another town, Balhash, 500 workers would remain in the factory and 800 would be made redundant. This was taken to mean that those left at work would have the job of dismantling the plant. Local residents see this as meaning the closure of Zhezkazgan, particularly given rumours already circulating of the closure of the enrichment plant in Satpaev. This would leave another 1,000 workers on the streets. A total, with families, of 15,000 people will be affected.
Video film of Monday’s demonstration at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0KrdJc0n0Y&feature=youtu.be shows demonstrators demanding answers from the management and their false friends in the company union. The workers ask what has happened since they made such huge efforts to save the whole Karaganda area from ruin. They do not accept that they should be asked now to make these huge sacrifices because of some problem with the price of copper on the world markets.
Bosses and workers’ ‘representatives’ get a rough ride
The director of the factory, Tanenov, and deputy Mayor of the City, Beibut Akhanov, addressed the workers and claimed that there were no plans to ‘conserve’ the factory; the bulk of workers would remain and work on reconstruction, at least part-time and on 50% of their present income. Naturally, nobody believed his words, as they contradicted both last week’s statement and the plans revealed in 2011, which said that KazakhMys was planning the demolition of their factories and the transfer of production to Balhash.
Having no satisfactory answer from the bosses, the workers demanded that Torekozh Tlemisov speak. He is president of the in-house trade union. But he just repeated what the bosses had said. The workers quickly accused him of just being the Director’s advocate. They asked him openly why he had not been amongst the workers, but had instead come out with the bosses and ignored his members. Another speaker insisted that none of the local representatives had shown any concern for the plant and suggested they should all be recalled and in their place, new representatives be elected to act in their interests.
During the protest, the workers drew up an appeal to the President to nationalise the factories to maintain production and the life of these cities. Now tactics and methods of struggle are being discussed. Understanding that no-one is listening to them, they have decided to take their struggle further. Plans include rallies, strikes and other protest action to defend their factory and their future. The workforce is convinced that the local population, whose livelihoods depend on the plants, will support their demands. There will be a new gathering of all concerned on 6 July.
Solidarity messages from around the world would give tremendous courage to the working people of Zhezkazgan.
Please send your support to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Free Vadim Kuramshin, Rosa Tulataeva and Vladimir Kozlov!
Video message from Paul Murphy for debate in Brussels on 18 April