Wave of repression against workers leaders’ in Kazakhstan

The government of Kazakhstan launched a campaign of repression against trade unionists in recent months.

At the beginning of January the government and bosses of the OCC oil company attempted to quash an oil workers’ protest.

The chair of the workers’ union Amin Yeleusinov and labour inspector Nurbek Kushakbayev were arrested on 20 January.

At the same time management launched mass layoffs of workers who participated in the protests. The OCC is a part of KazMunaiGas, the state oil and gas company in Kazakhstan. When workers at the company struck in 2011 some 17 were killed.

During the oil strike Kushakbayev, said, “We have not stopped work. The workers are working, but they have simply stopped eating.


“The authorities keep on saying this is illegal, but there is nothing illegal about this. To eat or not to eat is for every individual to decide.”

The workers had gone on partial hunger strike in a demand for improved working conditions.

Kushakbayev was accused of giving “unauthorised strikers” advice.

He has now been sentenced to two years in a penal colony.

Kushakbayev was actually convicted of encouraging workers to participate in another dispute. He was prosecuted for his involvement in strike last December by workers at Techno Trading Ltd.

The prosecution said, “Kushakbayev offered them his consultation, gave them more effective tips on how to mount a strike. He specifically suggested that they declare a hunger strike, gather as many people as possible and not be afraid of the police.”

Amin Yeleusinov the leading union representative at OCC is still awaiting trial.


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