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The Management of JSC Belaruskali Was Frightened of the Termination of Contracts With the Norwegian Company Yara

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The Management of JSC Belaruskali Was Frightened of the Termination of Contracts With the Norwegian Company Yara

The administration claims that penalties have been lifted from the striking miners, and those dismissed can be taken back.

Belaruskali is ready to cooperate with the Norwegian company Yara on a long-term basis in the field of industrial safety and accept the company's specialists to monitor production processes. In addition, previously dismissed workers can be recruited if they apply. The corresponding press release was published on January 20 on the website of Belaruskali.

- We are in constant contact and will continue to cooperate with the Yara company in the future in ensuring the safety of working conditions, improving the health and the social level of our employees, - the press release of Belaruskali says. The enterprise's management decided to lift disciplinary sanctions from the enterprise's employees (press release dated December 17, 2020), and previously dismissed employees can be recruited back to work at JSC Belaruskali if they submit appropriate applications.

Also, the administration of Belaruskali discussed, together with the trade union organizations of the enterprise, increasing the efficiency of public control over industrial safety. In the near future, the employer and the trade unions will make appropriate proposals for improving the "Regulations on the work of public inspectors," tut.by writes.

On January 20, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Yara President Svein Tore Holzeter held an online meeting, during which they discussed the situation at Belaruskali. Tsikhanouskaya's telegram channel reports.

- Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya recalled that Yara proposed to revise the contract with Belaruskali if the repression at the enterprise continues. It is extremely important that Yara speaks about what conditions Belaruskali is setting. Tore Holzeter said that the company would uphold the ethical principles of doing business and continue to intercede for the workers of Belaruskali, the message says.

How the situation with Belaruskali and Yara developed

The Norwegian company Yara is the world's largest fertilizer producer and one of the main trade partners of Belaruskali. The Belarusian Potash Company traditionally works with it under five-year contracts. For example, under the 2011-2015 agreement, BPC supplied Yara with over 1 million tonnes of potash fertilizers annually.

In September, Yara representatives came to Minsk for the first time for negotiations with representatives of the Belarusian Potash Company and trade unions. On the eve of this visit, Yara 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 December, Yara General Director Svein Tore Holzeter and several other representatives of the company's management visited Belaruskali. At a closed meeting with the leadership of Belaruskali, they discussed the conditions that must be met in order to comply with the Code of Conduct for Yara Business Partners. On the eve of Svein Tore Holzeter's visit, his appeal on the situation in Belarus was published on the Yara website.

"Despite our constant efforts to achieve change through dialogue, we have not seen significant improvements in the position of Belaruskali employees. We are particularly concerned about the numerous reports of layoffs of workers who peacefully expressed their democratic rights. <...> We should see a significant improvement in conditions and relations with the personnel of Belaruskali, an end to repressions, as well as an improvement in labor safety conditions," the appeal said.

During a December visit to Belaruskali, Yara representatives also raised issues of labor protection, safety, and fatalities at the enterprise. In 2020, there were several similar cases at Belaruskali. In March, the car in which the workers were driving to the site crashed into a wall. The driver died, six people were taken to hospital in serious condition. As a source from Belaruskali told TUT.BY, the cause of the accident could be a malfunction of the car; complaints about this equipment have been received for a long time. A 21-year-old worker was fatally injured in June. At the end of October, an employee of Belaruskali was injured and was hospitalized with injuries; in early November, another employee died.

Belarusians also actively leave comments on Yara's social networks and ask them not to sign a new contract with Belaruskali.