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Kazakhstan: Zhanaozen Strikes Point to Oil Sector Unease

Around 200 oil laborers in the western Kazakhstan city of Zhanozen mounted five straight days of strike actions last week in protest at their employers’ plan to reduce working hours and cut salaries.

Memories are still raw in the city of events in December 2011, when a lengthy sit-in by striking oil workers culminated with unrest that was crushed with force by police, leaving more than a dozen dead.

The protest by employees of drilling company Burgylau took the form of them dropping tools for two hours daily. Notably, some of this news is being reported by loyal to the government, which represents a stark difference to 2011, when state media largely ignored industrial unrest in Zhanaozen.

One of the workers’ complaints is related to a string of what they are unfounded dismissals. Around 60 people have been fired in recent times, protesters said. 

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Kazakhstan: Zhanaozen Strikes Point to Oil Sector Unease

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