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More Oil Workers Begin Hunger Strike In West Kazakhstan

OzenMunaiGaz workers in the same region struck less than a year ago (file photo).
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Fourteen employees of the OzenMunaiGaz Oil Company in Kazakhstan's western Manghystau Oblast have started a hunger strike, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

OzenMunaiGaz spokesman Estai Qarashaev told RFE/RL by phone that the hunger strikers are demanding a pay rise.

He said dozens of workers at two locations had refused to go to work. They are demanding the revision of the collective contract between the company and the workers and changes to the pay scale.

On May 17, hundreds of oil workers at another oil field in Manghystau Oblast, Qarazhanbas, joined a similar strike begun by colleagues earlier this month, demanding a pay increase and the lifting of restrictions on the activities of independent trade unions.

On May 24, Natalya Sokolova, a trade union activist at Qarazhanbas oil field, was sentenced to eight days in jail for participating in the Qarazhanbas workers' protest actions.

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