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Demands of the Solidarity movement

On the 17th of August, 1980, the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Lenin Shipyard, Gdańsk, led by Lech Wałęsa, announced the famous list of 21 demands. The main point among these included the demand for the establishment of free trade unions, other demands included the improvement of the living conditions of society and observance of constitutional rights and freedoms.

31 years later, oil workers in Zhanaozen have formulated their own list of demands. Just like in communist Poland, the spark which caused the protest were social issues. Still, because of the brutal reaction of the authorities, the list of demands was extended to include those of a political nature. It struck at the foundations of the modern Kazakhstan’s ruling system in which extensive rights and freedoms guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution are merely a fiction.

Demands of the oil workers in Zhanaozen before the tragedy:
  • to revise the collective agreement, signed with oil workers in 2010 and not observed by the employers, based on the principle of equality of parties and taking into consideration the interests and rights of the workers;
  • to revise working conditions in order to bring them in to line with the international labour standards;
  • to stop discrimination in the workplace based on nationality;
  • to raise salaries to a level which ensures the provision of factual minimum living standards;
  • to allow the legal registration and operation of independent labour unions;
  • to commence negotiations with labour unions, along with the participation of international observers;
  • commence a tripartite dialogue with the representatives of the government, including the State Labour Inspectorate;
  • to release Natalia Sokolova, the lawyer of the oil worker labour union in the Karazhanbasmunai enterprise, who was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment;
  • to release the arrested participants of the strike from custody;
  • to stop the oppression and persecution of activists of labour unions and of social activists who supported them.
Demands of the Kazakh civil society after the Zhaozen tragedy:
  • to carry out an independent international investigation into the tragic events in Zhanaozen in December 2011
  • to create a Zhanaozen List, based on Magnitsky List. A list of Kazakh civil servants, officials and politicians, who provoked the tragedy in Zhanaozen, actively took part in the violent repressions of the strike and those who are still involved in covering up for what happened.