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Oil Workers On Strike In Kazakhstan's Northwest

Kazakhstan is a major producer of oil and gas. (file photo)

AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- More than 60 oil workers have gone on strike in Kazakhstan's northwestern region of Aqtobe as they seek a salary increase.

The workers of the AMK-Munai company's Bashenkol field walked out on January 29 saying that their monthly salaries of about $160 should be doubled as they currently fail to allow them to provide for their families.

One of the strikers told RFE/RL that the workers have been demanding a salary increase since March last year, but nothing has been done.

"The management kept saying that salaries had been defined in individual work contracts and did nothing. That is why we decided to start the strike," the worker said.

AMK-Munai Director Erzhan Qoldasov confirmed to RFE/RL that workers have made demands but said that the operations at the oil field were not disrupted.

"We will discuss the issue. We will meet with them,” Qoldasov said.

Five days earlier, dozens of oil workers at the nearby Kokzhide oil field also started a strike based on the same demands.

Strikes by oil workers are a sensitive topic in the oil-rich Central Asian nation after police used firearms and killed at least 16 people while dispersing protesting oil workers in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen in December 2011.

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