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ArcelorMittal coal miners on strike in Kazakhstan

The strike started on 11 December when about 200 coal miners decided not to return to the surface after the end of their shift at four mines owned by ArcelorMittal. Workers at the mine are represented by IndustriALL affiliate Trade Union of Mining & Metallurgy Workers of Republic of Kazakhstan.

One day later Labour Minister of Kazakhstan confirmed the fact of the strike and announced that there are currently 684 workers striking underground at all 8 coal mines owned by ArcelorMittal in Kazakhstan. The union estimates more workers involved in the labour conflict. The striking workers are getting meals and water through their supporters and family members.

The workers demand 100 per cent increase of their wages, improved healthcare package, early retirement in 50 years versus current 63, better equipment and safety measures, as well as improvements to the infrastructure of their home town Shakhtinsk. Workers also demanded to speak to Lakshmi Mittal, Indian billionaire, owner of ArcelorMittal Temirtau.

ArcelorMittal Temirtau has eight coal mines and four iron-ore mines in Kazakhstan and operates a steel plant in Temirtau. Last year the company produced about 4 million tons of steel in Kazakhstan.

An industrial action is rarely taking place in Kazakhstan due to a repressive legislation criminalizing union and labour activists’ work. At the end of the last year a strike took place at Kazakhstan’s Oil Construction Company (OCC) where workers protested against dissolution of their union. Those who participated in the strike which was declared illegal by the authorities became subjects to heavy fines and repressions.


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