In our previous post, we wrote about the recent arrest and jailing of Kazakh social activist and journalist Ainur Kurmanov, and the international solidarity campaign that has sprung up in his defense. We thus have decided it is a good time to publish a report written by Ainur late last year on the recent history of the labor movement in Kazakhstan and the prospects for militancy and consolidation within this movement. The successful strike in March of this year by KazMunayGas workers in Zhanaozen seems to prove many of the points Ainur makes in the following article.
The Current State of the Trade Union Movement in Kazakhstan
The situation in the trade union movement in Kazakhstan is complex and quite difficult. The processes under way within the organizations and amongst the working masses are in many ways reminiscent of the changes taking place in Russia. In essence, there is no unified labor movement in the country. The old Soviet-era trade unions have collapsed, turning into an aging, parasitic bureaucratic caste. Likewise, the free trade unions that emerged in the early 1990s have seriously deteriorated and thus do not offer a real alternative for union activists who want to engage in genuine struggle. At the same time, the economic crisis, which has staggered many sectors of the economy, has stimulated the growth of a new trade union movement. The signs of this new movement have begun to emerge everywhere and are a cause for optimism. Continue reading