POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

Agreement signed to maintain jobs at ArcelorMittal



Franz Fayot, Dan Kersch and Pierre Gramegna said they were delighted with the agreement reached to ensure employment and the future of the steel industry in the grand duchy for the next five years Paperjam

Franz Fayot, Dan Kersch and Pierre Gramegna said they were delighted with the agreement reached to ensure employment and the future of the steel industry in the grand duchy for the next five years Paperjam

An agreement reached last December between the State, trade unions and the management of ArcelorMittal to avoid a redundancy plan has just been signed, for a period of five years. 237 people will be able to take early retirement and adjustment leave, while a reclassification unit has been opened for 280 employees.

First tabled last December within the framework of the steel industry tripartite, the agreement concerning the restructuring plan at ArcelorMittal was signed by the different parties the morning of Monday 25 January.

The ministers of labour, finance and economy, along with management and employee representatives then gave a joint press conference, in which they each welcomed the agreement and the “constructive” climate in which it was negotiated.

The agreement avoids a wave of redundancies following the announcement of the elimination of 570 jobs by the steel company last September. The reason for this was a drop in structural activity, but it was also related to the health crisis.

€20m of state aid

The agreement provides for the possibility of early retirement and adjustment (set up to avoid layoffs) for 237 employees and early retirement specific to employees on shift for 71 others, says labour minister Dan Kersch (LSAP). At the same time, the reclassification unit will allow the 280 employees whose positions will be eliminated to be accompanied and reassigned to permanent positions. 76 voluntary departures and 40 internal transfers have already been negotiated.

ArcelorMittal is also committed to investing at least €165m between now and 2025 to develop several projects on the Belval, Differdange, Rodange and Bissen sites. “The investment includes the redeployment of part of the activities of the Dommeldange workshop as close as possible to the plants for which it currently works,” the company outlined.

And “if they don't do it, they will have to pay back the state aid,” Dan Kersch said. This sanction to ensure that promises are kept is a “first in Luxembourg”, and a model that “many European trade unions” would like to follow. In concrete terms, the company will contribute 10% of the costs linked to early retirement, instead of 30%. The State covers the remaining 20%, which corresponds to €20m.

Finally, the global steel group is once again maintaining its headquarters in the grand duchy. 

Fewer than 3,000 employees in 2025

This is the eighth agreement of this type for the company, which employs 3,900 people in the grand duchy, making it one of the five largest employers in the country. It was obtained after four months, five tripartite meetings and 20 for the dedicated working group, calculates Robert Fornieri, in charge of the file at union LCGB.

Although he joins in the celebrations, he expresses some fears about the future of the plan, if the interlocutors at management level were to change over the next five years. He says he will remain “vigilant, cautious and wary. It will be necessary to keep the promise.”

He also makes the “bitter observation” that the steel industry will employ “fewer than 3,000 employees” in 2025.

The OGBL notes that it will “never be satisfied with jobcuts, but has obtained full support for the employees.”

This article was originally published on Paperjam.lu in French