September 10, 2012

Striking Oil, Striking Workers

Violations of Labor Rights in Kazakhstan’s Oil Sector

Summary
Ersai Caspian Contractor LLC
KarazhanbasMunai JSC
OzenMunaiGas
Recommendations
To the Government of Kazakhstan
On the right to freedom of association
Enforcement of rights-respecting business conduct
Cooperation with international mechanisms
Effective inspections and investigations
On the misuse of overbroad criminal laws
To Kazakhstan’s International Partners, Including European Union Member States and the United States Government
To the International Labour Organisation
To National Companies and Foreign Companies Investing in Enterprises In Kazakhstan
Methodology
I. Background
Oil and Gas: Backbone of Kazakhstan’s Economy
Oil Companies in Kazakhstan
Corporate Responsibility
Kazakhstan’s Labor Movement
II. Freedom of Association under International and Kazakh Law..
International Labor Standards
Prohibition on Employers’ Interference with Freedom of Association
Kazakhstan Labor Law
Protection and Redress
Restrictions on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Freedom of Association
Collective Bargaining
Restrictions on the Right to Strike
Consequences for Participating in an Illegal Strike
III. Violations of Freedom of Association and other Rights in Kazakhstan’s Oil Sector
Interference with Union Activity and Strike at KarazhanbasMunai Oil Company
Failed Efforts at Mediation
Violent Attack on Union Members
Interference in the Election of a New Union Leader
Escalation of Tensions and the Initiation of the Strike
Strike and Its Aftermath
Violations of the Right to a Fair Hearing in Cases against Oil Workers
May 24 Attempt to Access Union Office
June 5 Protest March
Case of Natalia Sokolova
Threats against and Harassment of Karazhanbas Union Members
Wage Dispute and Strike at OzenMunaiGas Oil Company
Wage Dispute between Workers and OzenMunaiGas Management
Strike and Immediate Repercussions
Riot Police Violently Disperse Peaceful Strikers
Case of Akzhanat Aminov
Threats, Harassment, and Violence against Oil Workers and Their Families
Interference in Union Activity and Strike at Ersai Caspian Contractor
Ersai Caspian Contractor Restricts Karakiya Union Chairman’s Access to Workers
Karakiya Union Sues Ersai Caspian Contractor for Unlawful Interference
Ersai Caspian Contractor Restricts Union Activities, Refuses to Negotiations
Threats and Harassment of Karakiya Union Members
Another Attempt to Enter into Mediation with Ersai Caspian Contractor Management
Workers Go on Strike
Strike Committee Members Arrested, Karakiya Union Suspended
Other Attempts to Disrupt the Peaceful Strike
Mass Dismissals at OzenMunaiGas, Ersai Caspian Contractor, and KarazhanbasMunai and Its Affiliate Companies
Ersai Caspian Contractor and OzenMunaiGas Claims regarding Mass Dismissals
Violations of Freedom of Assembly of those Supporting the Oil Workers
Detention of Opposition Activists in Zhanaozen
Detention and Beating of Bakyt B.
Detention of Activist Galym Ageleuov
Detention of Opposition Party Activists in Aktau
IV. Strike Aftermath: Violent Clashes and Politically-Motivated Arrests
December 16 Zhanaozen Violence
Crackdown on Outspoken Oil Workers and Political Opposition Activists
V. The Role of Ersai Caspian Contractor, KarazhanbasMunai and OzenMunaiGas
Public Commitments and Responsibility to Protect Human Rights
VI. The Role of Kazakhstan’s International Partners
Statements by International Partners on Labor Rights Violations
Failure to Turn a New Leaf: Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship
Enhanced Partners: European Union-Kazakhstan Relationship
Germany
United Kingdom
Close and Longstanding US-Kazakhstan Ties
Kazakhstan’s Other International Partners
Acknowledgements
Appendix