Workers’ Rights in Kazakhstan

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Thousands of oil workers in Kazakhstan have gone on strike to protest low wages, mistreatment, and violations of their basic rights. The companies and authorities have undertaken a campaign that restricts workers’ freedom of assembly, associate, and expression. Other abuses include interfering in workers’ attempts to engage in collective bargaining, firing those who took part in the strikes, and even imprisoning major union leaders trumped on political charges. Because oil is a large part of the country’s economy and exports, the strike resulted in major financial losses for Kazakhstan. However, rather than taking steps to revamp the labor system, the State has instead responded to these peaceful strikes with sheer brutality, including law enforcement arbitrarily detaining, wounding, or killing demonstrators.

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