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Kazakh Oil-Industry Workers On Strike For Pay Raise

QALAMQAS, Kazakhstan --

Dozens of oil industry workers began a strike at the Qalamqas oil field in Kazakhstan's western region of Manghystau on May 7, demanding higher wages.

Strikers told RFE/RL that they will resume work only if their demands are fully met.

The workers of the Kazpromlogistic company, who maintain the oil pipelines, demand their salaries be doubled and work conditions be improved.

Strikes by workers in oil, copper, and coal industries in Kazakhstan have become frequent across Kazakhstan in recent years.

In November and December, hundreds of miners at copper and coal mines in Central Kazakhstan went on strike demanding salary increases and better social security for retirees.

In January last year, hundreds of workers at the Oil Construction Company (OCC) held a two-week strike to protest the closure of a trade union alliance.

Oil and gas revenues are crucial for Kazakhstan's economy and budget, and strongman President Nursultan Nazarbaev's government tolerates little dissent.

Critics say the government has been subjecting labor unions to pressure since deadly protests staged by oil workers in western Kazakhstan in 2011.

After a months-long protest, at least 16 workers were killed by police in the oil town of Zhanaozen on December 16-17, 2011.

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