Just business? Belaruskali backs down on firing protesters

The freshly-fired workers may be reinstated and the disciplinary penalties will be lifted, the directorship of Belaruskali, one the country’s leading manufacturers, said on the official website on Thursday.

Belaruskali, a world-known producer of potash mineral fertilisers, supplies products to more than 50 countries. The announced ‘thaw’ might have been the result of their talks with their high-profile foreign customer, Norway’s Yara.

In the statement, Belaruskali top managers avouch that the company is ready for long-term cooperation with the Norwegian partner in the field of safety and production monitoring. The press service does not directly mention the post-election persecution of protesting workers, but the following message is definitely related to the issue:

“The directorship of the enterprise has decided to cancel the disciplinary penalties against the employees; the dismissed workers can be re-employed if they contact [us] with a corresponding request.”

Belaruskali employee refuses to leave mine in protest, ends up in mental hospital

In turn, the Belaruskali strike commitee believes that the proposal is nothing but window-dressing which is needed at the moment, because the directors want to sign a new contract with Yara.

“The reinstated workers will still be sacked on artificial reasons after the situation calms down. Dissent has never been welcome at Belaruskali,” the committee’s representatives stressed.

The international corporation Yara is one of the main and profitable buyers of Belarusian potash fertilisers. In the wake of the brutal crackdown on the Belarusian peaceful protesters in 2020, people from all over the world keep urging Yara to suspend the cooperation with the Lukashenka regime. More than 100 workers of Belaruskali took part in the strike. At least 55 of them were fired.

In September, Yara representatives came to Minsk for negotiations with 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 repressions against miners.

Norwegian partner of Belaruskali stands up for dismissed miners