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8 Feb 2022

Joanna Lillis, Eurasianet

Kazakhstan: After civil unrest, industrial protests spike demanding better working conditions

Kazakhstan: After civil unrest, industrial unrest spikes, 7 February 2022

As President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev firefights the aftermath of fatal civil unrest that erupted in Kazakhstan last month, he is also confronting fresh bouts of industrial unrest as grievances over low salaries spill into strikes.

...[W]orkers rallied outside an energy facility in western Kazakhstan that is owned by a subsidiary of Kazatomprom, the state-owned nuclear company, as negotiations to resolve a pay dispute floundered...

...[W]orkers from the MAEK-Kazatomprom energy plant put forward a demand to double their pay. The company rejected it, on the grounds that it cannot afford the pay hike. It offered instead a 30 percent raise for all staff except managers, plus other concessions including bonuses paid out on public holidays. Workers’ representatives on a reconciliation committee rejected the offer. Staff staged a protest rally...outside the plant, which is headquartered in the city of Aktau and supplies electricity, heating and water to the region.

Workers also penned a direct appeal to Tokayev complaining that in the face of rampant inflation they cannot live on their salaries, which they said average just 140,000-160,000 tenge ($325-370)...

MAEK-Kazatomprom confirmed the protest was taking place. However, it said its operations – which include three electric power plants and several other industrial facilities – continued to function without interruption, despite some of its 3,645 workers downing tools...