ArcelorMittal’s European Works Council will lobby the company to achieve maintenance of jobs and production at the company’s plants in Sestao and Zumarraga. The secretary of this European committee, Didier Zint, has attended today Bilbao to support the workers of these two Basque factories.
The Sestao plant is stopped, with no date of return, and on the second one weighs an announcement of partial cessation of activity made by the management. The first has 335 workers, in an agreed ERE situation, and the second 325.
Zint has offered a press conference in Bilbao together with trade unionists from CCOO, UGT and ELA, although he did so before holding a meeting with Arcelor Spain’s human resources management, the outcome of which will be reported later.
The solution must be negotiated in the Basque Country
The union leader regretted that coming to Bilbao to support Basque workers “has not been easy”, because the business group has not facilitated this task of support.
Although he has warned that the solution to these two plants must be negotiated in the Basque Country, Zint explained that the European committee supports them and is going to pressure Arcelor to ensure the continuity of both factories.
The steps they are going to take are to first request a meeting with the management at the level of the European restricted committee, which must be granted, to learn first-hand the data on which Arcelor relies to suspend the activity of the plants.
The objective will be to meet with the two top European managers of the divisions of flat and long products – those that manufacture the two plants, each one with its specialization, which also makes their future “independent” from each other.
The Zumarraga conflict, transnational
In addition, the committee wants the conflict in the Zumarraga factory to be considered transnational in nature, arguing that production will be taken to other countries.
This would allow to open a legal process of information and consultations in which the company must give the information and the opinion of the European committee must be listened to; “Another thing is that later it takes it into account or not,” the trade unionists have admitted.
All with the objective of “guaranteeing employment, obtaining investments for the plants and requiring political support for this,” Zint concluded.
LAB claims to have been “excluded” from the meeting
The LAB union has denounced that it has been “excluded” from the ArcelorMittal European Works Council meeting that took place this Thursday in Bilbao.
In a statement, the union has indicated that its representatives at the Sestao and Zumarraga plants have attended, “at the invitation of the Arcelor Mittal European Committee”, to this meeting that took place at the CCOO headquarters in Bilbao. However, LAB has indicated that its representatives “have been refused” to attend the meeting, so they have decided to leave the meeting.
Meeting with management
The Zumarraga committee will also announce on Friday, after the workers’ assembly, its position regarding the meeting to which the ArcelorMittal management has summoned it next Monday at the headquarters of the Labor Relations Council (Preco) in Donostia- Saint Sebastian.
Works council sources have explained that it met this Wednesday afternoon, after the discrepancies between the committee and Arcelor Mittal’s management about the place where the negotiation around the proposal of the company of relocation of the workers of the Gipuzkoan plant before its announced partial cessation of activity, have again prevented, for the second consecutive day, the scheduled meeting from being held.
Regarding the calendar of mobilizations that was planned to be approved at that assembly and at the concentration called for this Friday next to the headquarters of the Provincial Council in Donostia-San Sebastián, the committee has indicated that it will also deal first with the staff and “everything It will also depend on the response of the company. “
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.