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Striking Kazakh Miners Offered Salary Hike

Mittal Steel Temirtau plant in Qaraghandy Region (RFE/RL) October 4, 2006 -- Regional officials in central Kazakhstan say the managers of Mittal Steel Temirtau have agreed to raise the wages of their employees.

Whether the decision will help put an end to a ongoing coal miners' strike remains unclear.

Qaraghandy Governor Nurlan Nigmatulin told reporters today that under the deal, coal miners working underground would receive average monthly wages of no less than $700 starting from October 1. Mine employees working on the surface would get a 20 percent raise.

Workers at Mittal Steel Temirtau's steel mills were offered a similar raise under a separate agreement reached on October 3.

Company employees have been on strike for several days, demanding better pay and working conditions.

The protest movement started shortly after an underground gas explosion on September 20 killed 41 workers at a coal mine operated by Mittal Steel Temirtau, which is a subsidiary of Arcelor Mittal, the world's leading steel producer.

(Interfax-Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan Today)