Stop the persecution of independent trade unions in Kazakhstan

13 Dec

Statement by the Central Council of the University Solidarity trade union

The Central Council protests against the attempt by the authorities in Kazakhstan to deprive the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KNPRK) of its legal status, and voices its serious concern about the situation with regard to workers’ rights there. The attack on the KNPRK is part of a general offensive against labour and civil rights by the regime of N. Nazarbayev.

The Kazakhstan authorities bear responsibility for the shooting of striking workers in Zhanaozen in 2011. And now they are taking from working people the legal instruments to defend their rights, and are trying to destroy the free trade union movement. In 2014 Kazakhstan adopted a draconian law on trade unions, which made it more difficult to set up trade union organisations, subjected them to stifling bureaucratic control and imposed a whole array of restrictions on their activities. In 2015 participation in “unlawful strikes” was made a criminal offence. All these measures breached the international legal norms and International Labour Organisation conventions, and created conditions for arbitrary rule over employees by employers and the state.

We demand that the Kazakhstan authorities stop the persecution of trade unions and rigorously observe fundamental human rights – the freedom of assembly and of trade union activity.

We stand in solidarity with our comrades of the KNPRK and call on all trade union organisations, civil society groups and all concerned citizens to support the free trade unions of Kazakhstan in their just struggle. 

Adopted by the Central Council of University Solidarity, 10 December 2016.

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