Kumtor deposit employees go on permanent strike
Kubanychbek Isabekov of the Jogorku Kenesh (national parliament) announced at his press conference in Bishkek that Kumtor gold miners had gone on a permanent strike.
All work at the gold mine developed by Kumtor Operating Company stopped when 380 workers called a strike. According to Isabekov, stocks of the already extracted ore could only last a day. "Everything will come to a screeching halt by noon tomorrow, December 20," the lawmaker said.
The protesters demand the arduous labor conditions fee coefficient to be upped from 1.75% to 2.4%, hazardous labor allowance, equal fees with foreign employees, and 100% fee to the sick.
The government ordered payment of the arduous labor conditions fee in its resolution dated September 11, 2005, but Kumtor Operating Company has ignored it. "Unlike other companies, that is," Isabekov pointed out.
The protesters sent a delegation to Bishkek a week ago. It is headed by local trade union leader Marat Asanaliyev. According to Isabekov, negotiations in Bishkek are under way at a leisurely pace, and Kumtor Operating Company management keeps dismissing the protesters and their demands.
"These 380 employees are the core of the workforce there, the ones without whom everything will stop. Whether or not employees of the ore-processing factory decide to join the strike is hard to say at this point. I only know that they certainly sympathize with us. Technological process at the factory is such as to brook no interruptions," Asanaliyev said.
Special state commission is meeting on December 20 to discuss the matter. Deputy Premier Tynychbek Tabaldiyev, trade union activists, and Kumtor Operating Company executives will be present at the meeting.