Miners at an Arcelor Mittal- owned metal and mining complex in Kazakhstan entered the fifth day of their strike on Friday demanding pay raises.
The miners, whose protest was triggered by last week's methane gas blast at the Lenin mine that killed 41 workers, were expected to be joined tomorrow by thousands of steel workers, who also demand higher wages and better working conditions.
All eight of Mittal Steel Temirtau's mines were not producing coal today, as workers kept pressing for better pay and conditions despite the management's pledge Wednesday to raise their wages.
The company has said the new wages will be announced within 10 days, but the miners said they would continue the protest which began Tuesday until the pay raise is official, and threatened to launch a massive strike if they are not satisfied with the new conditions.
Meanwhile, on Friday Emergencies Minister Shalbai Kulmakhanov announced the final findings of a government commission that was investigating one of the Central Asian nation's deadliest mining accidents. The probe found the blast was caused by the turning on of electricity in an unventilated mine.
"The main cause is the poor organization of work and a lack of coordination among workers," Kulmakhanov said. He said the responsibility for the accident lay fully with the mine owner Mittal Steel Temirtau.
The miners said they would join a demonstration by metal workers planned for tomorrow in the town of Temirtau in central Karaganda region, the ex-Soviet republic's industrial heartland.