Kazakh-Chinese oil company Velikaya Stena is laying off a lot of workers in Aktobe.
203 employees of the company have already been axed and, according to the oil workers, 200 more employees are awaiting dismissal. According to the workers, they were offered to work for one more month for a half of their regular pay and then take an unpaid leave starting this fall.
"I am the sole provider of my family. I have four children. We need to get them ready for the school year. The money we get paid is barely enough. But if they cut our salaries and then dismiss us completely, we will be in a very bad situation," one of the oil workers Kanat Bokeresh said.
Meanwhile, the oil workers are discontented with the fact that the administration of the company continues to work the same as before with no cuts and layoffs. "The director has five deputies! None of them are laid off. No one cuts their salaries. They should leave the same we do. We are forced to sign the documents," a worker of Velikaya Stena Torekhan Adilov said.On Tuesday the outraged workers demanded a meeting with the managers of the company. In response, the company said that the mass layoffs was a desperate measure caused by low oil prices.
"At the moment we only have 7 brigades working out of 24. The work has stopped. It is the first time in 16 years. Despite the difficulties we have been paying 50% of their salaries up till this day. We do not have any means to continue the financing," Vice Director of the company Arman Kamalov said.
The response of the Vice Director did not satisfy the workers. The oil workers turned with a collective complaint to the Akim (Governor) of Aktobe Oblast and the Labor Inspection.
Velikaya Stena JSC also known as Sino-Kazakhstan ""Great Wall" Drilling Company (SKGW) was established on November 1, 1999. It is a joint venture of China National Petroleum Corporation and Kazakhstan's AktobeMunaiGas. SKGW has been rendering services to Aktobemunaigas and Preussag Company at Zhanazhol and Kenkijak oilfields. The company totals 2,823 employees - 23 Chinese experts and 2,800 local staff.