Friday, July 1

The adjustment at Arcelor will be between 900 and 1,000 workers

The management of ArcelorMittal put on the table this Wednesday the first figures of the labor adjustment that will accompany the plan of decarbonization of its plants in Spain. They coincide with the estimates of the unions. There will be between 900 and 1,000 “surpluses”–The company had a total of 7,906 workers at the end of 2020– and the bulk of the cut will affect the Gijón factory. However, the multinational has not yet specified the impact plant by plant, which makes the unions desperate, which have been waiting for these data since September.

ArcelorMittal will invest more than 1,000 million euros with public support to reduce its CO2 emissions in Spain by half and its main project is the closure of one of the two blast furnaces in Gijón and the sinter that feeds it, and its replacement by an iron ore prereduced plant (DRI) that will use green hydrogen and the transformation of the Gijón steelworks in a hybrid installation –which will consume prereduced and scrap metal– with an electric arc furnace powered by renewable energies. The DRI plant in Gijón will supply prereduced iron to the Gijón electric furnace, with a lower production capacity (1.1 million tons) than the current steel mill, and also to the two electric furnaces at the Sestao plant (Vizcaya). that will raise their production to the maximum (1.6 million tons of steel). There will be a transfer from Asturias to the Basque Country.

From the steel multinational it was argued this Wednesday that The number of workers who will have the DRI plant cannot yet be specified and the Gijón electric furnace, since the projects are still being elaborated, but that the figure will be notably lower than that of the current workforce of the blast furnace and the inter that they replace. That is why “the bulk” of the labor adjustment of the decarbonisation plan, which will affect between 900 and 1,000 workers in Spain, will focus on Asturias and, especially, on the Gijón factory.

Regarding this adjustment, sources from ArcelorMittal pointed out that the starting point is to avoid “as far as possible” “traumatic” exits and that it is intended to negotiate measures of geographical mobility and functions, and polyvalences.

The unions demanded this Wednesday concretion in the decarbonization plan, in the adjustment measures and in the cuts plant by plant. From UGT-FICA it was stated that the change in the production model cannot imply loss of capacity at the plants in Asturias. “We are not going to talk about employment until we agree on the industrial project as a whole,” indicated sources from the union, which is also demanding investment in Avilés. USO regretted the lack of specificity of the company after three meetings on decarbonization and the ITUC insisted on the need to start talking about the personnel needed for the new plants in Gijón. CCOO still does not attend meetings and demands “real negotiation”.

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Prior to the meeting on the decarbonization plan, the monitoring commission of the temporary employment regulation file (ERTE) that has been applied since 2009 and expires on December 31, was also held this Wednesday. ArcelorMittal yesterday proposed an extension with the same conditions, so that those affected could continue to receive about 93% of their salary. However, the proposal was rejected with the votes of the Basque unions ELA and LAB, which reject the state negotiation framework, and CCOO, which demanded that the multinational pay 100% of the salaries of the workers affected by the annulled Covid file by the National Court and that the ERTE can only be applied in the event of a facility stoppage due to a drop in production or a drop in orders. UGT, USO, Cuadros and Independientes were in favor of prolonging the ERTE taking into account the high cost of energy, the high price of CO2 or the coronavirus pandemic, which can lead to production stoppages.

ArcelorMittal sources regretted that an agreement was not reached and pointed out that now they will try to negotiate files plant by plant “starting from scratch” under the conditions. “The first flexibility measures will be presented in the coming weeks”, They pointed out.

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