12/15/2017, 09.30
KAZAKHSTAN

Karaganda, more than 600 miners lock themselves in mine to demand better working conditions

Largest protest since 2011, when the police killed 14 demonstrators. The miners have refused to come up to the surface for five consecutive days. The economic giant ArcelorMittal grants 30% of wage increase.

Astana (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 600 coal miners in the Karaganda region have refused to climb to the surface for five consecutive days. It is the longest strike in the country after the one supressed in 2011. It started last December 11th. The miners demand a doubling of wages, the possibility of retiring at 50 and better working conditions.

Local news agency Karaganda akimat says the strike ended this morning. The company that owns the coal mines, the economic giant ArcelorMittal Temirtau, has reportedly granted miners a 30% increase, a one-off bonus of the value of wages and today off work.

The strike was the biggest protest organized by workers in Kazakhstan since 2011, when the government violently stifled a demonstration of oil workers. On December 16 and 17 of that year, the Kazakh police opened fire on protesters in the western city of Zhanaozen, killing 14. Strikes and demonstrations are a rare event in the former Soviet republic, accused by human rights activists of suppressing independent trade unions. 

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