At the moment, The OGBL has said that ArcelorMittal will be "temporarily suspending" activities at two sites in Europe for the fourth quarter of 2011. One of these sites is Schifflange. The worry for both Schifflange and Rodange is clear: if the sites are not brought up to speed in terms of functionality, the temporary suspension could become permanent. As is, Rodange, already running at a reduced capacity, will see the closure of another mill. These measures will be put in place starting October. Realistically, it is unknown how long the capacity will be reduced.
Media outlets Wort and L’Essentiel have both commented that the announcement from the world’s largest steel group comes one week after its very public marking of the centenary of Luxembourg’s steel industry.
The worry is that the reduction in capacity will foreshadow a complete closure for the Schifflange and Rodange plants in the near future. To clarify the situation, the union of steelworkers is seeking an urgent tripartite meeting to gather more information before deciding how to proceed. In a statement issued yesterday, ArcelorMittal, for its part, has said that it "will discuss the details with the social partners in a meeting on Tuesday." Watch this space.
As the photo above shows, there is a groundswell of serious unease amongst ArcelorMittal employees which has erupted in flashpoints. The uncertainty is set to continue for a while yet.
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