Sweden: Local miners’ union donates to Kazakhstan oil workers’ struggle

“I really hope more trade union organizations give support”

"The local union IF Metall Malmfälten, which organises 7000 workers in mining and other industry from Malmberget, Kiruna and Pajala in northern Sweden, sends its full support to the oil workers of Kazakhstan and wish great success in their fight for fair conditions, good work environment and human rights.”

Together with this statement, the local union IF Metall Malmfälten decided to support the heroic struggle of the oil workers in Kazakhstan with 1,500 euros, to be put in to the account opened by MEP Paul Murphy for the international solidarity campaign.

The miners in north Sweden have a long history of militant struggle. For example, during 1969/1970 they staged a 56 days all out strike, without union strike funds, on issues of pay and working conditions with the slogan, "We are not machines". Their struggle meant a huge victory both for the miners but also for the whole Swedish working class. In that sense, it has many similarities with the current oil workers struggle in Kazakhstan. Since then, the Swedish miners have kept their militant traditions, at the same time as supporting other workers in struggle. In 2007, they won a big wage increase by staging a two day unofficial strike.

Tomas Nilsson, chairperson of IF Metall Malmfälten, sees it as a duty to support workers who are in need of support for their struggle: “In Sweden, many think decent working conditions are given, something given by the ‘good’ employer. But everything regarding workers’ rights, working conditions and human rights comes from struggle. The injustices are different in different parts of the world but progress made in one part is important for the whole workers movement.

“Here in Malmfälten we have history that is all about that: the big miners’ strike in 1969/1970. Our predecessors struggle had not been possible without the support in the form of money, food and support messages, in others words solidarity. In my opinion it is a duty and a privilege for a trade union to support those who need help in their struggle against injustices and for humane conditions. I really hope more trade union organizations give support, both financially if possible and by letters of support, that can give strength in difficult times. A victory for workers anywhere in the world is a victory for workers everywhere!”

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