KazMunaiGas Says Workers’ Strikes Have Little Impact on Output

KazMunaiGas Exploration Production, the London-traded unit of Kazakhstan’s state-run energy producer, faces protests at its two oil-producing units.

Ten employees of the Ozenmunaigaz unit began a hunger strike in their cars today after a court ruled that their claims are illegal, Astana-based KazMunaiGas EP said today in an e-mailed statement. Another 250 workers of the unit didn’t come to work to demonstrate solidarity with the strikers, the company said. Output hasn’t declined, according to KazMunaiGas.

The company said in March 2010 that Ozenmunaigaz was operating weekends and holidays to compensate for 27,600 metric tons of oil output lost during an 18-day strike that month, in which as many as 3,000 workers protested against the company’s move to a new salary system.

KazMunaiGas EP’s AO Karazhanbasmunai oil unit has been hit by a strike of 700 workers over wages that began May 17, said Mikhail Dorofeyev, an Astana-based KazMunaiGas EP spokesman. The unit’s output “suffered insignificantly,” and damage has reached 240 million tenge ($1.7 million), he said. The strike was spurred by conflict within the unit’s labor union and has also been declared illegal, Dorofeyev said.

KazMunaiGas is in talks with workers at both units to stop the strikes, he said.