The workers of the industrial city of Kryvyi Rih have been engaged in a series of struggles with their oligarch employers.   The Joint Stock Company ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih is one of the leaders among the largest enterprises of Mining and Steel Complex of Ukraine.  Published below are the demands of the workers collective outlined in a protest letter to the candidate in the elections for head of the city.

To the candidate for the post of City Head for the town of Kryvyi Rih Yuriy Valerievich Milobog from the workers of the PAO “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih


Esteemed Yuriy Valerievich!

At the present moment the labour collective of the PAO “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih” is suffering extreme instability and a critical situation. This is connected with the policy of reviewing the organisational structure and distribution of staff initiated by the management of the enterprise, and the transfer of a series of functions to subsidiary organisations, and also transferring personnel together with their functions to outsourcing.

The consequence of these activities is a mass decrease in the number of personnel. Thus, in the period from August to October alone the trade union committees of the enterprise received information letters concerning the planned redundancy of 572 workers of the group. The result of the sharp decrease in the number of personnel is a significant increase in the intensity and strenuousness of work, which in conditions of work in dangerous conditions and extremely run-down equipment raises the risks connected with securing the safety of work. The numbers of personnel at the PAI “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih” have been cut by half in the last ten years of the owner’s work. Thus, if in 2005 at the GGMK “Krivorozhstal” 54,000 people worked, then as at 1 September 2015 there remained 27,875.

It follows that the owner, when it signed the Otrasl agreement in the metallurgical complex of Ukraine for 2011-2012, took on itself the obligation “to work out and implement the norms of labour for all work in accordance with the account of technology and organisation of the workplace” (Point 3.13 of the Otrasl agreement. In particular, Article 85 of the Labour Code of Ukraine provides that norms of labour relate to norms of production quotas, time, service, quantity and are established for the workers in accordance with the level of technical equipment, technology, and organisation of production and work.

In accordance with Article 86 of the Labour Code of Ukraine, the introduction, amendment and review of norms of labour are established by the owner or its agents in agreement with the elected organs of the plant trade union organisation.

The owner or agent must explain to the workers the causes of review of the norms of labour, and also the conditions according to which new norms must be implemented.

However, today the owner in conditions in which the required norms were absent in the enterprise, without a substantial change in technology and introduction of new technological decisions is carrying out an unfounded reduction in the number of personnel! Not to a single consultation between the administration and the trade unions were there presented accounts which could concisely prove the necessity of reducing the number of sub-branches and concrete professions precisely of this number of workers.

In the situation of the total economic resources with the goal of cutting the cost of tons of metal products produced, the owner took the most simple decision for him – to reduce the personnel, to withdraw them from the staff, to get rid of the social and insurance packet, to reduce the wages, to shift the whole burden of work onto subsidiary organisations, and as a result – to evade the taxes payable to the city budget.

It would be better to direct the energies of management to economies of items of expenditure in the direction of production activities in the sphere of responsibility. This would bring about sums of economies substantially higher than cutting the number of workers. It is necessary to note that the expenditure on wages for labour as a proportion of production is altogether about 10%, which is far from the European norm. On 7 November 2015 the independent shop floor trade union organisation of the PAO “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih” held a trade union conference at which the following demands were adopted directed to the representative of the owner of the enterprise:

  1. To raise by 50% the wages of the workers of the enterprise, bringing the share of the continual component in the wages structure to the level of 70%.
  1. To repeal as unlawful all orders to the enterprise connected with reduction in the numbers of personnel, all reviews of staff distribution, all transfer of functions to subsidiary organisations or the transfer of personnel together with their functions to outsourcing.
  1. To cease the practice of substantial reduction in the numbers of workers in the enterprise in conditions of conditions of the absence of a scientific basis for norms of work, which contradicts the existing legislation of Ukraine.
  1. To terminate the labour contract of the Director of the Personnel Department Andzhei Vypykh. If the demands of the labour collective will not be heard and if positive decisions are not taken on these questions, then the trade union committee of NPPO PAO “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih” will take upon itself the right officially to initiate a labour dispute (conflict) with the owner of the enterprise, and in particular the right to undertake within the framework of the existing legislation actions of protest against the policies of the owner, directed against the human rights of workers.

Esteemed Yuri Valerievich!  We are turning to You for support, as we are certain, that You as the responsible person, a patriot of Ukraine in your own city, will hold out the hand of help to the labour collective of the largest national metallurgical enterprise. We are sure that with Your support we may defend the labour collective of the enterprise, and protect each worker from the perspective of being thrown onto the street.

This appeal was adopted on 7 November 2015 at the Emergency Conference of the Independent Shop Floor Trade Union Organisation of NPPO PAO “Arselor Mittal Kryvyi Rih”

Sergey Ivanchenko

Translation: Bill Bowring