Economy & Politics

What future for the steel industry in Luxembourg?

Unions, management and government meet on Tuesday afternoon (3 p.m.) to discuss restructuring at ArcelorMittal, which plans to part with 570 people. But for major maneuvers, we will have to wait a little longer because many gray areas remain.

Eddy RENAULD

Unions, management and government meet this Tuesday afternoon (3 p.m.) to discuss restructuring at ArcelorMittal, which plans to part with 570 people. But for major maneuvers, we will have to wait a little longer because many gray areas remain.

Three weeks after a “first exchange of views”, the social partners meet on Tuesday for a new tripartite meeting in the steel industry. With the stake not only the future of some 580 employees of ArcelorMittal under the threat of a social plan, but also on the prospects of an emblematic sector in the Grand Duchy. Whether short, medium or long term.


Stahlwerk von Arcelor-Mittal in Differdingen

A few days after the announcement of the world number one in steel to cut more than 570 jobs, the meeting between union representatives, management and the government made it possible to set up “a first exchange of views”.


Except that at this stage, “there are still many unanswered questions,” said Stefano Araujo, central secretary for steel and mines of the OGBL, with reference to “the lack of detailed information and a timeline” . Clearly, the absence at this stage of a structured framework for the negotiations, the working group set up following the first meeting not having made it possible to put concrete proposals on the table.

On the union side, the first priority will be to “avoid layoffs” by making maximum use of the tools available. In this case, reclassification, training and support measures or early retirement which should concern the majority of the jobs concerned. For the others, the use of more inventive solutions should be tested. Against this backdrop, the need to imagine the future operation of the sites impacted by this major restructuring, in a complicated economic context, marked by the drop in steel costs in Europe and the variation in the price of raw materials.

These questions will also be at the heart of the government’s approach, keen to keep part of the operational activities of the world leader in steel on its soil. In other words, to manage to retain a significant part of its industrial sector and not be satisfied with a presence linked to the only financial activity of the group which will be embodied by the future headquarters of the group in Kirchberg. “We will be able to get a more precise idea depending on the more or less substantial investments that the steel group will make on the Luxembourg sites ”, specifies Patrick Dury, President of the LCGB.

Contacted Monday, the management of ArcelorMittal did not wish to specify its intentions before the holding of this tripartite meeting. The only certainty is that the group is actively seeking liquidity, as indicated by the total sale of its activity in the United States. An operation that will have enabled him to collect 1.2 billion euros. On Monday, the world steel leader simultaneously indicated the launch of a sale of bonds to the tune of one billion euros and a public tender offer for its bonds maturing in 2025.

As a reminder, the sixth employer in the country had announced, following its board of directors on September 10, its desire to cut 15% of the workforce in the Grand Duchy, as part of “savings measures”. According to the Ministry of Labor, if more than 110 positions concern retirements and early retirement, the fate of 274 people has not yet been determined.


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