Ten thousand oil refinery workers have been striking since 4 March 2010 in west Kazakhstan. They are facing increasing repression from the state and black out from the media. Joe Higgins sent the following message to the workers on strike
Dear brothers and sisters, workers at the KazMunaiGaz and OzenMunaiGaz companies,
My comrades in Kazakhstan have told me about the massive strike that you are engaged in. Your struggle for an improvement in living conditions and wages, as well as for the nationalization of the plant under workers’ control are an inspiration to socialists and workers’ activists across Europe.
I encourage you to stand firm in the face of likely state repression and attacks on democratic rights, in the knowledge that your struggle is just and that by standing together you have enormous power.
I understand that there has been an attempt by the authorities to impose a media black out on the strike, with no major TV channels or newspapers reporting on these massive events. I will try to use my position in the European Parliament to publicise your vital struggle for workers’ rights.
Together with my comrades in the Committee for a Workers International around the world, I want to assist your struggle in any way I can. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance.
Member of the European Parliament