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London rail workers pledge support to Kazakh oil workers

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9 November, 2012London underground rail workers joined the international campaign in support of oil workers under state repression in Kazakhstan.

On Thursday 1 November, the Central Line West branch of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) joined the protest started by Russian and Kazakh trade unionists.

The campaign was started to bring the attention of the general public to the horrible massacre of workers by police on 16 December last year in Zhanaozen. The massacre was the authorities’ reply to a wave of strikes lasting seven months, involving around 10,000 workers. At least 16 were killed and 60 wounded.

The London rail workers joined international organizations’ demands for the release of Kazakh oil activists jailed during the strikes, and for an investigation into allegations that the detainees were tortured by police and security services officers before their trial in May this year.

The resolution has been forwarded to the London region of the RMT, and, if supported there, should have a chance of being proposed as national policy for the union, which represents, among others, oil workers in the British section of the North Sea.

The resolution appeared just a few days before the murder of 20-year-old Alexander Bozhenko in Zhanaozen exposing police officers who tortured witnesses to produce “evidence” at the trial of trade union activists, whose only crime in fact was their participation in last year strikes.