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Kazakh Miners Protest Wages, Conditions

(RFE/RL) September 25, 2006 -- Hundreds of coal miners today picketed the main administrative building in the central Kazakh town of Shakhtinsk to demand higher salaries and safer working conditions.

In addition, dozens of workers launched an improvised strike at the nearby Lenin coal mine.

Reports say nearly 40 miners have refused to come up to the surface and remain underground, while another 20 workers refused to go down this morning.

The protests follow an explosion at the Lenin mine on September 20 that killed 41 people and wounded another six.

Mine officials say they believe failure of the ventilation system may have been responsible for the blast.

The Lenin mine is operated by Mittal Steel Temirtau, a subsidiary of Mittal Steel, the world's largest steel producer.

(Kazakhstan Today, Interfax-Kazakhstan)

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