The fertilizer company drops its purchases of potassium from Belarus, but says the company will continue to support unions in the country.
This is stated by Yara in a message on Monday.
Yara writes that the company has worked to “promote human rights and improvements in health, safety and the environment (HSE) for the employees of the supplier company Belaruskali”.
However, sanctions against Belarus have had a “negative effect on the supply chain”, writes Yara, which is thus “forced to phase out the purchase of potassium”.
The settlement of the purchases will be completed by 1 April, Yara reports.
The United States and Canada joined forces in December on new sanctions against Belarus, which Norway has also joined, according to VG.
Will continue HSE cooperation
“The consequences of the sanctions against Belarus are that Yara’s ability to positively affect the safety and working conditions of Belaruskali’s workers is reduced,” Holsether said in a statement on Monday.
– We have been strongly involved in this work and therefore this is
the development disappointing. However, Yara maintains its ambition to continue its collaboration with Belaruskali in HSE, which was established in 2021, in close collaboration with the independent trade union in Belaruskali and in full compliance with current sanctions, he says.
Increases pressure: Exile leader asks Yara to break with Belarus
Yara writes that the company has had a dialogue with both the management of Belaruskali and trade unions, at the same time as a program has been introduced to strengthen HSE in the Belarusian company.
The fertilizer company also emphasizes that it “complies with current laws and regulations”, and that the purchases of potassium “are in full compliance with current sanctions”.
Yara states that the reason for the closure is that other parts of the value chain stop important services for potassium exports.
Asked Yara to break with Belarus
In recent years, the opposition in Belarus has repeatedly asked Yara to break off cooperation with the Belarusian potassium supplier Belaruskali, as in 2020.
In December 2020, Yara asked the Belarusian company not to punish workers who went on strike, and as recently as last week, the country’s exile leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaja went out and asked Yara to break with Belaruskali.
Svetlana Tikhanovskaja leads the resistance struggle against the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko from her exile in neighboring Lithuania, and was in Oslo in August where she met Yara boss Svein Tore Holsether.
Holsether said then that the company would make a decision on Yara’s operations in Belarus by December.