4 February, 2021Another independent union is under threat in Kazakhstan, a country notorious for its anti-union policies and persecution of union leaders. Sign our LabourStart campaign to demand an immediate end to the pressure on unions in Kazakhstan.
Shymkent local authorities have filed a lawsuit to suspend the Trade Union of the Fuel and Energy Industry Workers, with more than 4,000 members in the oil, metallurgical, energy and other industries in eight regions of Kazakhstan.
According to the lawsuit, the union has failed to make the necessary amendments to its statuary documents and violates current union legislation. However, legal experts consider these claims unreasonable and based on legal norms that no longer apply, or do not apply to this case.
According to the Central Asia Labour Rights Monitoring Mission, authorities filed this lawsuit on the initiative of a number of companies, including Oil Construction Company, West Oil and Bozashy Trans Kurylys, that belong to the state-owned KazMunayGaz.
In recent years, Kazakh authorities have intensified pressure on independent unions by prosecuting and sentencing union leaders on politically motivated charges. This pressure has seriously weakened the union movement in Kazakhstan.
In July 2019, the previous leader of the Trade Union of the Fuel and Energy Industry Workers Erlan Baltabay was sentenced to seven years in prison and handed a seven-year ban on conducting any public activity, such as trade union activities. He was later released following a massive solidarity campaign.
In 2017, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan was forcefully dissolved and its leaders were prosecuted for their union activities.