January 21, 2021
Yara has a strong commitment to the universal human rights agenda including the right to strike and backs the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in her condemnation of human rights abuses in Belarus. As a long-term partner to one of Belarus’s biggest companies, Yara has over the past months sought positive change through a close and regular dialogue with the management of BPC and Belaruskali, including physical visits to Belarus in September and December to make clear the importance Yara attaches to the ethical conduct of its business partners. Our approach of seeking influence through continued presence is supported by the Belarus Independent Trade Union (BITU) & The Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and IndustriALL as well as the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) and Industri Energi.
Yara continues to engage with a number of stakeholders inside and outside Belarus, including the leader of the Belarusian democratic opposition Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to evaluate how it can have the most positive impact. Yara’s main concern remains the health, safety and well-being of Belaruskali workers. Following a series of meetings between Yara and its Belarusian business partners over the past months, Belaruskali has announced steps to improve the situation for and relations with its workforce, including reintroducing allowance and bonus schemes for workers who had previously been subject to disciplinary penalties, and offering to re-employ terminated workers. The company also declared its readiness to cooperate with Yara on industrial health & safety improvements.
Yara sees these steps as positive, but will continue to monitor the situation closely and expects Belaruskali to further improve the situation for its workforce, respect workers’ rights, enhance occupational health and safety, and refrain from repression of employees. We will also continue to engage with all key stakeholders, as we continuously evaluate our position.