Dozens of striking copper miners demanding wage hikes in Kazakhstan's Qaraghandy region are refusing to return to the surface, RFE/RL reported on November 30, citing activists from a labour advocacy organisation in the city of Zhezqazghan. The miners have been underground in the mine since November 29.
The miners are reportedly demanding a meeting with Eduard Ogai, chief executive of the mine owner, Kazakh copper giant KazakhMys. Activists posted a photograph on Facebook of the miners along with their list of demands on a sheet of paper.
The list specifies a 70% salary raise, better pensions as well as free access to education and holiday resorts, along with other demands.
Following labour strikes in the oil town of Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan, which ended in clashes that killed at least a dozen people in December 2011, the government promised to improve labour relations and “modernise trade union institutions”.
Human Rights Watch argued last November that instead of introducing the promised changes, the Kazakh authorities imposed burdensome registration requirements on trade unions as well as requirements for mandatory affiliation with higher-tier unions that stand at “stark odds with internationally protected workers’ rights” that allow employees to freely organise.
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