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Striking Oil Workers In Kazakhstan Start Hunger Strike

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Ten of the several hundred oil workers on strike in western Kazakhstan have gone on hunger strike, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The workers are demanding better wages and conditions at the Ersai Caspian Contractor in Kazakhstan's western Manghystau region,

One of the workers, Mamai Aisariev, told RFE/RL that the general strike began on May 11, and today 10 of the workers went on hunger strike.

Another striking worker, Dauren Abdrakhimov, said they were demanding a pay raise, the lifting of restrictions on independent labor unions, revised labor contracts, and equal payment for local and foreign workers doing the same job.

Aisariev and Abdrakhimov said that residents of the nearby village of Quryq blocked the road connecting the village with the company today to express solidarity with the striking workers.

Ersai Caspian Contractor is a Kazakh-Italian joint venture and the main operator of the Qashaghan oil field.

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