As we reported previously, oil workers in Kazakhstan have been systematically repressed, with many jailed for participation in strikes. The British government – and UK oil companies – is complicit in this, due to close government links and oil company …

As we reported previously, oil workers in Kazakhstan have been systematically repressed, with many jailed for participation in strikes. The British government – and UK oil companies – is complicit in this, due to close government links and oil company activity.

And Tony Blair was recently paid to extol the virtues of the former Soviet country.

But there are a few statistics about Kazakhstan he forgot to include:

Freedom House ranks Kazakhstan 172nd out of 196 countries in terms of press freedom; Reporters Without Borders ranks it 162nd of 178 countries; Transparency International ranks Kazakhstan 120th of 183 countries in its 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index; and the Economist Intelligence Unit ranks it 137th of 167 countries in its 2011 Democracy Index.

There will be a meeting to discuss a CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND KAZAKH OIL WORKERS on Friday 5th October, at 6.00 pm, in the function room at the Lucas Arms pub, 245a Grays Inn Road, London (five minutes’ walk from Kings Cross/ St Pancras stations).

The purpose is to consider how we in the UK might respond to calls for international solidarity with the Kazakh oil workers. Their strike last year ended with a massacre that left at least 16 dead and 60 wounded. Numerous trade unionists and political activists have been jailed and/or tortured.

Suggested items for discussion are:

1. Report by a Ukrainian lawyer who travelled to Kazakhstan in August and September to monitor activists’ court cases.

2. Possible campaigning methods including (a) trade union solidarity, (b) protests and direct action, (c) support for legal appeals through the Kazakh and international courts.

For more information contact Gabriel Levy.

For background, see this Human Rights Watch report:


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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