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Oil Workers In Kazakhstan On Hunger Strike

ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan -- Fourteen workers at the private Burghylau oil company in the western Kazakh town of Zhanaozen have been on a hunger strike since March 20, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Burghylau's trade union Chairman Daniyar Bespaev told RFE/RL that the hunger strikers' major demand is that the company be nationalized and merged with the state KazMunaiGaz company.

Bespaev says that the leadership of Burghylau regularly breaks labor agreements with workers.

One hunger striker, Kayirzhan Sharabaev, told RFE/RL that the company's administration started laying workers off recently because of the global economic downturn, and the workers have no other means than a hunger strike to protest the layoffs.