ArcelorMittal Temirtau asks workers to yield to wage cuts
ArcelorMittal Temirtau has asked its personnel to understand the difficult financial situation and agree to the 25 % wage cuts, Tengrinews reports citing the head of Korgau Trade Union of Coal Miners of the company's coal department Marat Mirgayazov.
The General Director of the steel giant Vijay Makhadevan asked the workers of steel and coal departments to allow the 25 % wage cuts. “In the message, the company’s management asks (the personnel) to understand the complicated financial situation and also asks not to hinder the 25 % reduction in the salaries of metallurgists and miners. We have spoken to the miners, and they are not willing to make the concessions. We are talking about the money they earned with their hard work. Therefore, this letter did not change the workers' stance in any way," Mirgayazov said.
The workers are now wondering why the management of ArcelorMittal Temirtau did not address them in the first place, and instead made them learn about the cuts from a decree.
"Why didn't they ask us to understand their situation amicably with a letter of request in the first place, but just published a decree declaring the wage cuts? And only when the prosecutor's office and the Labor Inspection intervened and restored the order, did the management start to attempt to persuade us," Marat Mirgayazov noted.
Besides, ArcelorMittal Temirtau has not cancelled the decree of January 30 on the wage cuts yet, despite the prosecutor's prescription to do it before February 5. “The decree has not been cancelled yet. It is still valid, although the prosecutor’s office and labor inspection told the company to bring it back on the agenda and bring things into compliance with the Labor Code,” Mirgayazov said.
Meanwhile, the management of the company said it was going to challenge the decision of the prosecutor’s office that judged the company's actions illegal. Moreover, Vijay Makhadevan claimed he would not cancel the decree, which means that 16,000 miners and 13,000 metallurgists may still end up getting only part of their salaries. “We are going to appeal against the prescription of the labor inspection and the prosecutor’s office that concluded that the decree signed by me was illegal. The company does not have the money to pay full salaries to the metallurgists and miners, therefore, they will provide only 75 % of their January wages in the coming days,” he said at the press conference in Temirtau on February 5.
"I have appealed to the employees of ArcelorMittal Temirtau and explained why we had to resort to this short-term measure. All our top managers and departments are discussing it with their workers and explaining the situation. I believe they have begun to understand the situation we are in now. Therefore, the decree about the 75% payment of salaries is valid. And our personnel knows that the remaining 25% will be paid once the situation gets better. Currently, we have a shortage of cash. Our legal affairs department is now working on the prescription of the prosecutor's office and checks," Vijay Makhadevan is quoted as saying by Radio Azattyq.
Besides, the company has not yet paid the fine of 594,600 tenge ($3,223) levied on it by the Labor Inspection. In accordance with the Kazakhstan labor laws, ArcelorMittal Temirtau has to make the payment within 15 working days after it is levied.
The company hopes that the financial situation will improve in spring when the competitiveness of their products and demand for them increases. But Vijay Makhadevan did not specify what ArcelorMittal Temirtau was going to do to achieve this.
By Assel Satubaldina