Strike at the "Metallist" Factory in Uralsk, Kazakhstan
One of the consequences of the bombing of Serbia and now of Chechnya has
been an increase in orders for small arms. This has led to a strike at the
Metallist factory where CWI member Ionur Kurmanov is Co-Chair of the strike
committee. He explains the reasons for the strike.
"Workers have not been paid for three years. Instead of wages, they
sometimes pay us in kind or issue poor quality products for us to use. But
at the same time, the management has been building cafes and expensive
dachas for themselves. They have had expensive repairs to their homes done,
paid for by robbing raw materials from the factory for sale. Tens of
workers have died in this time as a result of hunger, stress or the lack of money
to buy medicines.
But in June and July, to fill these new orders, management expected us to
work for 12-14 hours a day on old equipment, breaking the labour law. They
refused to give us safety glasses or water. The canteen was shut.
In the end, our patience run out. A strike was declared on 1st September.
Although we are not allowed to strike officially as ours is an arms
factory, a strike committee was elected. We immediately sent telegrams of support to
other workers on strike in Kazakhstan and the meeting warned the KNB (ex
KGB) not to take any action against myself or any other members of the
strike committee who have been facing persecution".
Support can be sent to 417000 Republic of Kazakhstan, Uralsk, ul.
d.1/1 kv. 9. Pozhidaevy VT
Email messages of support to International Socialist here. These will be passed on to the comrades in Kazakhstan.
Ionur Kurmanov is a CWI supporter who was targeted by the state in Kazakhstan for his work in defence of the working class. Jailed in 1997 he faced the death penalty on a trumped up charge. He was released after a massive campaign of international solidarity led by the CWI.