ArcelorMittal and the Fears of Akorda

The Shakhtinsk municipal court decision has marked a decisive end to the longstanding conflict between one of Kazakhstan’s largest hirer and its staff. And what is heartening – the decision was made in favor of the ArcelorMittal Temirtau employees.

On February 15, 2018, the course dismissed the civil claim filed by the ArcelorMittal Temirtau corporation against Natalya Tomilova (Head of the Shakhterskaya Semya (“Mineworker Family”) non-governmental organization), Dmitry Sinyavsky (Head of the Otraslevoy Professionalnyi Soyuz Rabotnikov Toplivno-Energeticheskogo Kompleksa (The Professional Union of the Fuel-Power Complex Workers) of the Karaganda region), and the steel workers trade union.

At the same time, on February 8, 2018, the Temirtau municipal court sentenced HR Director Anna Adom privately accused of violating the labor regulation to 80 hours community service, ruled her ineligible to occupy the top-management positions at ArcelorMittal Temirtau for a year, and placed her under an obligation to compensate the non-pecuniary damage in the amount of 100 thousand tenge.

It looks like luck or rather Akorda has turned its back to the corporation. There can simply be no other reasonable explanation as to why the first-instance courts dared to pass the sentences unfavorable to the ArcelorMittal Temirtau management.

It seems the top-management of the corporation wanted to show to the staff that had achieved a significant success during the last short-term strike who the boss is. They, however, did not take into consideration the fears of Akorda that, after the Zhanaozen tragedy of December 16, 2011, prefers to be extra-careful when dealing with such cases even if the social (labor) conflict is developing in the civilized way. And this is good news since it means that Akorda has abandoned the political practices of Aslan Musin’s times.

Of course, the pressure on the civil and trade-union activists of the Karaganda region may resume any moment simply because it is in the ArcelorMittal Temirtau management’s interest. In the coming years, they need to dramatically decrease the number of the employees to increase the productivity and the earning power of the business, and the resistance on the part of the staff might disrupt these plans.


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