ArcelorMittal says Kazakh coal miners end strike

ASTANA, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Coal miners at steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s Kazakh unit have ended their sit-in and emerged from the mines, the company said on Friday, after offers of a pay rise and the threat of legal action.

ArcelorMittal Temirtau, the Central Asian nation’s biggest steel mill, said it would continue negotiations with the miners.

After hundreds of workers started the sit-in on Monday, the company filed a lawsuit against them and a local court on Thursday ruled the strike was illegal.

State prosecutors then offered miners to end the sit-in in order to avoid charges.

At the same time, ArcelorMittal said it had agreed to increase the pay of those working underground by 30 percent. Miners had demanded a 100 percent rise.

The company, which produced about 4 million tonnes of steel last year, said in September it was negotiating a new collective agreement with steelworker and miner trade unions and planned to sign it before the end of the year.

Large-scale industrial action is rare in Kazakhstan whose government, according to international human rights groups, has cracked down on independent trade unions.

(Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Michael Perry)

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