A worker at an ArcelorMittal steel factory in Luxembourg
Photo: Matic Zorman/archives
Luxembourg steel giant ArcelorMittal will shortly begin a transformation project in a bid to make it competitive for the tough global steel market.
Responding to statements made by labour minister Dan Kersch (LSAP) in parliament on Thursday, the steel firm dismissed the minister’s claims that it was a restructuring of the firm, and that 260 jobs would be axed through not replacing staff who retire.
“It’s a transformation project, it means we’re in a situation where we’re confronted with external factors which mean we have lost our competitivity,” spokesperson Pascal Moisy told Delano on Thursday: “We’re not talking about closing sites. It’s not a restructuring plan.”
Among the external factors, he mentioned the rising cost of energy and primary materials, in contrast to the falling cost of steel in Europe due to external competition, eroding margins.
The three to five-year project which is due to begin in 2019 aims to make the company more efficient by digitising its maintenance and sales to better meet customer needs. “There will be investment in digitizing and automating services and in production processes to be more efficient,” Moisy said.
He added that staff cutbacks were not part of the project and had no idea where the minister got the figure from. “We need people, who are motivated and well trained. The goal is to restore competitivity in terms of cost,” he said.
Kersch had been speaking to members of the labour and economy parliamentary committees about the scheme, known as the “Score project”, which outlines five developmental axes: sales, digitization, cost reduction, investments and supplies.
According to Moisy, the project was presented to Luxembourg trade unions in February.
Writing on its website in May, OGBL raised concerns the plan did not quantify the real investment needs and was convinced it would have a “serious impact on the workforce throughout this period.” It called for a new agreement to be reached, which “meets the company’s future needs while taking into account the justified aspirations of the staff.”