Tuesday, July 17, 2012 -
Steelmaker ArcelorMittal Temirtau said on Tuesday it has reached a deal with steel workers and promised pay hikes that will be backdated to the start of the year.
Salaries will increase by 10.4 percent from January 1, 2012, with salaries from January-July to be paid next month, the firm said in a statement.
Low-income workers who receive between $400 to $467 a month will receive additional payments of $33 to $67 a month.
The measure is a temporary fix to an ongoing labor issue, and the firm said it will return to the negotiating table in October this year.
“We are pleased that we managed to reach an agreement with trade union representatives,” ArcelorMittal Temirtau chief Vijay Mahadevan said in the statement.
“Now we can focus on issues of competitiveness, efficiency, and energy conservation in our enterprises.”
However, labor activists say the increase falls short of their demands.
“Naturally, we are dissatisfied with the agreement,” union activist Valentina Shepelenko told the Reuters news agency.
“This is just a stopgap measure,” she said. “We had every right to go on an open-ended strike, but we accepted this temporary deal to defuse the social and political situation.”
Troubles at the Temirtau plant began in June, when workers staged a three-hour strike and demanded a 30 percent pay raise.
ArcelorMittal Temirtau initially offered a 10 percent pay raise, which was rejected by the union
Leaders are more eager than ever to resolve labor disputes in Kazakhstan, following the violent events in Zhanaozen in December 2011 in which police shot on labor activists, killing at least 15.