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Image courtesy of Turkish Flame/Wikimedia Commons.

A hunger strike launched by oil workers in Kazakhstan recruited hundreds of participants after a court shutdown a confederation of independent trade unions.

According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, more than 400 oil workers were taking to part in a hunger strike protesting the ruling on Wednesday.

The majority of the participants work at the Qalamqas and Zhetybai oil fields in the Manghystau province.

The protesters have asked Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party to reinstate the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan.

The confederation was shut down earlier this month after the country’s Justice Ministry alleged that the group did not confirm that it is a “national union” within the required period.

A Manghystau province official told Radio Free Europe that the protesters have not requested a meeting with government representatives.

The official added that the hunger strike is “illegal.”

Thousands of oil workers from the town of Zhanaozen in Kazhakahstan launched a six-day long strike in October 2016 following a salary dispute.

According to Oil Price, over 2,000 workers undertook an industrial action in late September to demand that Burgylau, a private drilling company, adopt a salary review process similar to the one used by state-owned KazMunayGaz.

The nearly week-long strike ended after the firm agreed to adopt a new salary review system.

According to the U.S. Energy Administration Information, Kazakhstan’s estimated total petroleum and other liquids production was 1.7 million barrels per day in 2014.

According to Oil & Gas Journal data seen by the EIA, Kazakhstan’s proved crude oil reserves stood at 30 billion barrels as of January 2014.

Kazakhstan’s reserve level is the second largest  in Eurasia after Russia and the twelfth largest in the world.

Kazakhstan’s two largest fields, Tengiz and Karachaganak, accounted for 48 percent of the country’s total production in the first nine months of 2014, the EIA said.