22 January 2021, Friday, 18:39
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Largest Potash Buyer Warns Belarusian Authorities

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Largest Potash Buyer Warns Belarusian Authorities

The management of the Norwegian company Yara commented on the situation in our country.

General Director of the Norwegian company Yara Svein Tore Holsether commented on the situation in general in Belarus and specifically on the dismissals at Belaruskali. "We have not seen significant improvements in the situation for Belaruskali workers. We are particularly concerned by numerous reports of dismissals of workers who have expressed their democratic rights in a peaceful manner," said the Yara chief. He also said that he had discussed these issues with the Ambassador of Belarus to Sweden, Dzmitry Mironchyk. As a reminder, Yara is one of the world's largest suppliers of mineral fertilizers and one of the key clients of the Belarusian Potash Company. Meanwhile, there are more than 100 people in the Belaruskali strike committee, and at least 55 of them have already been fired.

On the website of the Yara company, an appeal of the General Director Svein Tore Holsether about the situation in Belarus appeared. "The continued suppression of human and workers' rights in Belarus, as described in the recent report by the OSCE Rapporteur, is unacceptable," the statement says. "Yara has a strong commitment to the universal human rights agenda, and backs the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her condemnation of human rights abuses in Belarus."

Yara says it expected that "workers' rights are respected and have called for improvements in the situation for the Belaruskali workforce and the interaction between the company and the unions." "Recent safety incidents on site are also alarming," the CEO said. Let us remind you that, earlier, Aleh Kudelka, one of the miners, who refused to rise to the surface after working shifts, paid attention to safety issues at the enterprise and the investigation of accidents.

"Despite our continued efforts to bring about change through dialogue, we have not seen significant improvements in the situation for Belaruskali workers. We are particularly concerned by numerous reports of dismissals of workers who have expressed their democratic rights in a peaceful manner," the Norwegian company said.

The company writes that "the current situation is not tenable for Yara." "I have made Yara's position very clear in conversations with a number of stakeholders, including the Belarus Ambassador to Scandinavia Dzmitry Mironchykk (ambassador to Sweden and Norway (concurrently. - ed.). We need to see imminent and substantial improvements in the conditions for, and relations with Belaruskali's workforce, and an end to the use of reprisals as well as improved occupational safety conditions," said Svein Tore Holsether.

At the end of November, it was reported that the Norwegian company continues to buy potassium from Belaruskali through the Belarusian Potash Company.

In September, Yara representatives came to Minsk for negotiations with representatives of the Belarusian Potash Company and trade unions. On the eve of this visit, the company posted a message on its website in which it expressed concern about the situation in Belarus and the fate of the dismissed and serving sentences miners. In a new press release, Yara notes that thereafter "no additional physical meetings were held due to the pandemic."

The Norwegian company Yara is the world's largest fertilizer producer. BPC traditionally works with her under five-year contracts. For example, under the 2011-2015 agreement, BPC supplied Yara with over 1 million tonnes of potash fertilizers annually. Potash prices supplied by Yara are calculated based on a number of market indicators.

The Norwegian government owns 36.2% of Yara shares, institutional investors - 30.34%. Yara plants are located in almost 50 countries around the world, the volume of production exceeds 20 million tons of fertilizers per year. In 2016, Yara had revenue of $ 11.4 billion and EBITDA of $ 1.9 billion. Fertilizer sales in 2016 were 27.2 million tonnes.

In early December, the press service of the company's strike committee said that, according to the latest data, 101 workers of Belaruskali took part in the strike (the average number of employees of the enterprise, according to data for 2019, was 16.5 thousand people). 55 of them have already been dismissed. What happens to the rest is still unknown. The strike committee says that "from above they gave the command not to stand on ceremony." Earlier at Belaruskali, they also stated that "similar decisions will be made in accordance with the law" in relation to the rest of the strike participants.