ArcelorMittal has laid off 480 workers with immediate effect.
Word first broke via a news release from the Steel Workers Union, which stated, "In correspondence to all it workers ArcelorMital lays off all employees with immediate effect, in the first instance from December 7th to January 15th 2016. (Only a few workers are to remain on the plant for maintenance purposes.)"
However the Company is saying that it unsuccessfully attempted to reach agreement with the union. It says because of the global market, it had no other choice but to make this decision.
The following is the company's full statement:
"Following the inability to reach agreement with the Steel Workers Union of Trinidad and Tobago (SWUTT) on a proposal from the management of ArcelorMittal Point Lisas for workers with accrued vacation days to proceed on paid vacation, while workers who do not have vacation leave to engage in alternative functions on a temporary basis outside of their normal duties, the Company has had no option but to begin a process of laying-off workers.
Aware and conscious of the Christmas season and in the spirit of goodwill and the need of workers to be in a position to take care of their families, ArcelorMittal Point Lisas has undertaken the responsibility to provide the workers with some financial assistance as has been done on occasions in the past. Management of ArcelorMittal Point Lisas is also offering staff members the opportunity to encash a limited amount of accrued vacation entitlement.
At a day-long meeting with representatives of the SWUTT on Friday 4th December,
2015, the Executive Management noted to the union that it was impossible for the Company to keep workers on the plant over a protracted period without having work for them to perform.
At a meeting with the Union today the Company communicated its decision to lay off employees. The Company also informed the Union of its preference for employees to proceed on vacation as proposed and left the door open in this regard.
A couple of weeks ago, ArcelorMittal Point Lisas announced that because of over-supply of steel in the international market and the drying up of orders for its Direct Reduced Iron and steel products produced at the Pt. Lisas plant, it had to shut down operations temporarily.
The global steel industry is experiencing its worst recession in 10 years, comparable to that experienced in the early ‘90s. Every steel company in the world is facing this difficult reality and ArcelorMittal Point Lisas has had no choice but to react to these changes in the industry."