A difficult global and local steel market and failure to reach an agreement with the Steel Workers Union has led Point Lisas-based steel manufacturing company ArcelorMittal to send home 480 workers.
In a release today the company said “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.”
ArcelorMittal said that it is conscious and aware of the Christmas season and in the spirit of goodwill, it had undertaken the responsibility to provide the workers with financial assistance in order for them to be in a position to take care of their families. The company said it's also offering staff members the opportunity to en-cash a limited amount of accrued vacation entitlement.
The company said at the meeting with the SWUTT, the Union was told the company could not afford to keep workers on the plant over a protracted period of time without having work for the employees to perform. The lack of work came about because of a decision the company made on November 4th to temporarily shut down operations, due to an over supply of steel in the international market, and a drying up of orders for the company’s Direct Reduced Iron and Steel.
Meanwhile earlier in the day SWUTT had reported to the media that ArcelorMittal had layed off 600 steel workers. This prompted the company to release the statement indicating that it had only given notices to 480 workers.
The union said that only a few workers would remain on the plant for maintenance purposes from the period December 7 to January 15 2016.