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Kazakhstan: Unions Plan Protest Against Poverty

Almaty, 9 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh Trade Unions have issued a statement calling for strikes and other protests for October 17, designated the International Day Against Poverty, according to RFE/RL's Kazakh Service.

Union leaders say the protests will support demands for improving the social situation of common people.

Among the demands are payments of overdue salaries and pensions and better living conditions. Union leaders say they also plan a nationwide strike for November 1 if the government does not respond to their demands.

Union leaders yesterday said they advocate tri-lateral talks, which would include union, enterprise and government representatives.

Famine has been reported in some areas of Kazakhstan, and several demonstrations have protested overdue wage and pension payments. In a dispute with Russia over payment for power supplies, electricity has been shut off several times to parts of northern and central Kazakhstan. And because Almaty has retaliated by stopping coal shipments to Russia, several Kazakh coal mines have been closed.