for independent trade unions
OIL WORKERS ON STRIK: for independent trade unions
In mid-2011, oil workers took industrial action – demanding better pay, better working conditions, and the right to organize.
Industrial action was met with a vicious state attack and massacre. The oil workers dispute still reverberates in Kazakhstan which is a key oil producer.
On 16 December 2011, the state launched an unprovoked attack on a peaceful gathering in the central square of Zhenazoen. The BBC reported that 11 were killed, but workers in the area estimate that up to 70 strikers and supporters were actually killed. Numerous arrests were later made and trumped up charges were filed against workers.
The State refuses to investigate this massacre or bring state officials to account. Yet it has had no hesitation in pursuing workers who had organized the strike. Roza Tuletaevaa trade union activist was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on trumped up charges. This despite the fact that she was subjected to torture, threats and intimidation to ‘confess.’
The demands of oil workers continue. A key feature being the oil workers’ attempts to set up new unions, or to throw out union officials who are too close to management.
A report by Human Rights Watch provides some details about the strike, the demand to set up independent trade unions and the aftermath.
News footage can be seen here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16221566