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1,000 metalworkers rally against aluminium plant closure in Russia

4 September, 2012On 2 September 1,000 metalworkers rallied against the closing of aluminium production at Bogoslovsky, an aluminium plant in Krasnoturyinsk (Sverdlovsk area, Russia), which is part of the Rusal group.

Earlier, in December 2011, Rusal signed an agreement on the modernization of the plant. However, due to the steady rise of energy costs and a decline in the world price of aluminium, Rusal management decided to close aluminium production at the Bogoslovsky plant in August this year.

Every third family in Krasnoturyinsk has one or more members working at the plant. Overall it employs 3,700 people, 950 in aluminium production.

“The closing of aluminium production at the Bogoslovsky plant is a tragedy for my whole family. Five family members (my two daughters, my son-in-law, my wife and me) work in the aluminium shop at the plant. Finding a new job for five people in our town is simply impossible,” said Sergey Lazarev, a master at the plant.

A rally was hosted by Nikolai Prokofiev, leader of the Mining and Metallurgical Workers’ Union (MMWU) local at the plant. The MMWU is an IndustriALL Global Union affiliate in Russia. The leader of the regional MMWU branch Valery Kuskov also addressed the workers. His deputy Nikolai Alexeiev brought words of solidarity and support from 69 MMWU locals in the Sverdlovsk area, Rusal unions and the Central council of MMWU.

Earlier, on 30 August representatives of the union met with Rusal management and the authorities. MMWU notes that it was the first meeting where the company presented its position to the union in a direct manner. MMWU president Alexei Besymiannyh said that the meeting was “a first stab at solving a very serious problem”. The tripartite commission will meet regularly in the future.