ArcelorMittal workers in Kazakhstan hold a warning strike

29.06.2012

More than 3,000 workers took part in a three-hour warning strike at ArcelorMittal Temirtau, Kazakhstan, in support of their collective demands on 29 June.

Unions at ArcelorMittal Temirtau, Kazakhstan, held a three-hour warning strike in the morning of 29 June. They demand a 30 per cent wage increase, annual inflation adjustment and a complete halt on dismissals.

More than 3,000 workers took part in the strike, and more than 10,500 put their signatures in support of the strike earlier. 15-strong strike committee was created.

Industrial dispute at ArcelorMittal Temirtau began eight months ago, in October 2011. The employer has consistently refused to make any concessions.

The administration’s current proposal is to introduce a 2.6 per cent premium on top of the inflation adjustment of 7.4 per cent, guaranteed by the current CBA as it is, while the workers insist on a 30 per cent wage hike.

The unions have followed all the legal procedures of an industrial dispute: negotiations and conciliation. On 19 May they held a mass rally in Temirtau in support of their demands, to no effect. The strike was the only way for them to proceed.

The unions report that wages account for only 10 per cent of production costs at the plant. Furthermore, production has increased by 7.7 per cent in 2011 without complementary rise in wages.

Vijay Mahadevan, General Director of ArcelorMittal Temirtau, went to the striking workers. However, their demands are still not met.

The union notes that they held a first strike in the mining region’s long history.

Trade Union of Mining & Metallurgy Workers of Republic of Kazakhstan (TUMMWRK), which has branches at ArcelorMittal Temirtau, has recently joined the IndustriALL family. It was granted affiliation at the first ever IndustriALL Executive Committee in Copenhagen on 20 June.

IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina sent a letter to the administration of ArcelorMittal Temirtau and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, urging for a just and equitable solution to the industrial dispute.