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Oil, neoliberalism and resistance in Western Kazakhstan 
Serik Beimenbetov (Kazakh-German University)
Zumratkhon Sanakulova (Al-Farabi National University)
Zhansaya Aitbay (Caspian Today Media Holding)
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Political Science, International Relations, and Law
702 (Floor 7)
Friday 7 June, -
Time zone: Asia/Almaty
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This panel deals with the situation of workers in the oil sector in Kazakhstan, which has been under the increasing influence of neoliberal adjustment policies for years. These include the growing influence of transnational corporations, the gradual erosion of workers' rights and social benefits, the disempowerment of workers and increasing income inequality. All these phenomena have led to growing discontent among oil workers. Since the deadly riots in Zhana-Osen in 2011, which was the first attempt by oil workers to reclaim their rights, the number of protests in the oil sector has increased. Despite this, remarkably little attention has been paid to the relationship between neoliberalism and labor in the oil sector. To fill this gap, this panel will draw attention to the situation of oil workers in Western Kazakhstan, who have been under direct attack from neoliberal policies over the past decade. The panel comprises three contributions that examine the situation of workers in the oil sector from three interrelated angles. The first contribution will discuss the neoliberal economic model in Kazakhstan. In particular, it will trace the path of neoliberal reforms in the oil sector, critically examine their dynamics and assess their impact on the oil sector. The second contribution presents the results of a comprehensive survey on the situation of workers in the oil sector, which was conducted at several sites in western Kazakhstan in 2022. It examines the reasons for the increasing protests by oil workers, their demands, the protest dynamics and the driving forces. The last contribution deals with the problem of dwindling workers' rights and the role of the trade unions. It demonstrates that the trade unions do not play a role as advocates of workers' rights and are controlled by the state.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -