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ArcelorMittal Kazakh Steelworkers Hold Warning Strike Over Pay

Steelworkers at ArcelorMittal’s Kazakh unit held a warning strike today, seeking a 30 percent increase in wages on top of an inflation adjustment.

The ArcelorMittal Temirtau unit has proposed a total 10 percent wage increase for steelworkers, the same amount it recently agreed with coal miners, Roman Ilto, a Temirtau-based spokesman for the company, said today by phone. The unit said June 20 its pay raise for coal workers included 7.4 percent to compensate for inflation, after rejecting higher demands.

Output wasn’t hurt by the strike, which lasted for about two hours in the morning, Ilto said.

Unions representing ArcelorMittal Temirtau’s 35,300 staff declined an offer in February to adjust wages for inflation and discuss other increases after a sales target for rolled steel was reached, the Kazakh unit of the world’s biggest steelmaker said on Feb. 28. Demands for salary increases by oil workers in western Kazakhstan triggered strikes and deadly violence last year as police used arms to suppress unrest in Zhanaozen during Independence Day celebrations on Dec. 16.

The company is ready to discuss further wage increases when demand for its products stabilizes, Ilto said. “Iran was a significant market for the company’s rolled-steel sales, and now it’s closed,” he said, adding that this led to a cut in the first-quarter output.

The company decreased rolled-steel production by 8.8 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.

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