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Unemployment to soar in 2013

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Unemployment rate in Atyrau Oblast will soar this year.  But worklessness forecasts provided by North Caspian Project and Akimat [local authorities] differ from each other.

Earlier [at the meeting of core group with vice premier Krymbek KUSHERBAYEV] Atyrau Oblast governor Baktykozha IZMUKHAMBETOV reported that according to Agip, 1,700 people would be reduced at Bolashak Plant and 5,500 released from Kashagan project. Out of them 52% are locals.

This year, over 11,600 people will be seeking job in Atyrau Oblast, including 3,000 university and vocational school graduates, and resigned-at-wills, and people returning from army service.

But, Agip’s Public Relations Director and Deputy Managing Director Baltabai KUANYSHEV voiced figures that differed from those the governor said.

He said, over 3,000 people would be released from onshore complex and 9,000 employees from offshore. Given this, total number of reduced will make 12,000 people this year.

“You easily say you will sack nearly 12,000 people, but you don’t bother where they will go. You should be careful when talking about large-scale personnel reduction. You must be aware of the reasons for [2011] Zhanaozen Incident, it’s a big social problem. Oil is the wealth of the people, remember that” then said vice premier.

He ruled out to create a work group and the company was instructed to present future workforce reduction report in a month.

After that the oblast department for employment coordination and social programs requested Agip KCO to provide a new forecast, because the figures voiced by the company’s manager were different from those provided in the company’s earlier report.  

It’s funny that Agip is, so far, unable to explain [or pretends] the new figures shown in project report. Very strange.

Couple of weeks earlier, Ak Zhaik wrote that recruitment agencies hire only fresh people who never registered for the projects before.

At the time, one of the readers proposed an assumption that they intentionally magnify statistics to show an illusion of high local content. Or, subcontractors affiliated with recruitment agencies ‘draw’ high number of employees in order to take their [employees’] salaries from Agip KCO.

“Possibly, the first lists did not include employees of subcontractors, which are plenty at the project” assumes employment department.

By the way, it’s not the first time Mr Kuanyshev is shocking local authorities. A few years ago, during the visit of then-labor minister Goulshara ABDYKHALYKOVA to Karabatan, he stated Agip would reduce nearly 11,000 people, despite previous reports.

Following this, then head of local labor department Yerkin SHPANOV [now a member of Majilis] nearly sprang to his feet in high dudgeon.    

The question of the day remains – where these people will go to? Mr Kuanyshev said, Agip is to launch only one project this year – a railway overpass construction in Karabatan that will need 4,000 people.

As expected, Isker company won the construction tender and will come in with own personnel. It means, initial plans of the oblast administration to involve the greater part of the reduced, may not come true in full extent.

“At the moment we are name-by-name checking the details in the initial lists provided” says Goulmira SHAKIROVA, deputy head of employment and social programs coordination.

January 18 2013, 13:57

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