Belaruskali to reinstate fired workers after pressure from Yara

by Reuters
Thursday, 21 January 2021 12:31 GMT

FILE PHOTO: Workers of the potash producer Belaruskali attend a meeting to prepare for a strike action and a protest against presidential election results near Salihorsk (Soligorsk), Belarus August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

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Belaruskali, the world's largest producer of the crop nutrient, had fired several dozen workers over an attempt to organise a strike

MOSCOW, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Belarus state-run potash producer Belaruskali will reinstate its workers fired over an attempt in the autumn to strike, it said on Thursday, after pressure from its major customer, Norway's Yara.

Belaruskali, the world's largest producer of the crop nutrient, has kept its output stable despite months of political crisis in Belarus with some of its workers taking part in mass protests, demanding a leadership change in the country.

"(We) declare our willingness to work with Yara on a long-term basis," Belaruskali said in a statement, adding that disciplinary penalties for fired workers had been cancelled and they could return to work if they asked the company to do so.

The mass protests in the capital of Minsk and smaller cities have been ongoing since an Aug. 9 presidential election which veteran incumbent Alexander Lukashenko said he won - an assertion contested by his opponents, who say the vote was rigged and want him to quit.

Belaruskali fired several dozen of its workers in November for an attempt to organise a strike.

Yara previously called for Belaruskali to stop punishing workers for taking part in strikes and anti-government protests. Belaruskali sold potash worth $65 million to Yara in January-November, 2020.

Belaruskali sells more than 10 million tonnes of potash a year and estimates its share in the global market at 20%. It produced 11.36 million tonnes of potash in the first 11 months of 2020.

Belarusian total potash exports fell by 16% year-on-year to $2.2 billion in January-November, Interfax news agency reported, citing the country's statistics service.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by David Evans)

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